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Spring Hope boosts payment to trash, recycling contractor

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Spring Hope commissioners on Monday agreed to pay Waste Industries additional amounts for picking up waste and recycling starting July 1.

Waste Industries of Wilson last month requested an increase in the recycling fee of 34 cents per container per month, which at 650 containers amounts to $221 per month or an increase of $2,652 a year.

This month, the company also requested a Consumer Price Index increase of 3 percent, or about 40 cents per household per month. The two increases together would raise the town’s monthly cost of waste pickup and recycling to $13.97 per month per household.

The town’s contract does not require the town to pay CPI increases but allows the company to request them, but the board unanimously agreed to pay both fees starting July 1 after Waste Industries general manager Crystal Slone explained why recycling costs were rising and increases necessary, and said other area towns, including Bailey and Middlesex, had agreed to the additional costs.

“We don’t believe the recycling landscape is going to change,” Slone said. “We have a major backup of material all over the country, all over the world actually” because China, which buys most of the world’s recyclable material, has tightened its standards of accepting contaminated material which requires extra, costly processing.

“Recycling is still a good option,” she said, “because it keeps material out of the landfill.”

Town residents now pay $20 per month for the services, well more than $13.97, but Town Manager Jae Kim said the additional funds cover the cost of Envirolink and other related expenses. He said he would have to review the budget to see if raising the garbage fee will be necessary.

In other business, Allen Barbee, president of the Spring Hope Area Chamber of Commerce, told commissioners the town’s new license plate agency will open on Tuesday, April 16.

He said the new agency’s manager, Tim Johnson, and two part-time employees are now finishing up their second week of training from the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles in Raleigh. The new agency’s hours have not yet been officially set, but Barbee said he expected the office to be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday with an hour off for lunch.

“It’s been a real clean effort,” he said.

In his report, Kim told commissioners that Spring Hope was now asking residents to take a survey that will help the town develop its new land use plan. He said the survey is on the town’s website and printed copies are also available at the town hall. About 50 surveys have been turned in, but many more are needed to guide the planning process.

In his police report, Chief Anthony Puckett said there were an increasing number of elderly residents with dementia wandering off and the Spring Hope Police Department is “in conversation” with the Nash County Senior Center and Amedisys Hospice to provide public dementia and Alzheimer’s training for caretakers.

In other business, after a short closed session, commissioners agreed to allow Annie Jones to continue using a small piece of property owned by the town adjacent to Meeks Cemetery on N.C. 581.