Curbside recycling program gets initial approval from Hgtn. council

Rules for a curbside recycling program earned initial approval from the Huntington Common Council on Tuesday, Oct. 10, moving the program one step closer to implementation.

The ordinance, a companion to a previously-enacted ordinance setting out fees for the recycling program, must still be voted on a second time, and that vote could occur during the council's next meeting on Oct. 31.

If rules for the program win a second approval, city administrators must still work out details with the recycling company, making it unlikely that the recycling program will begin until early 2018, explained Anthony Goodnight, director of public works and engineering services. The fee, set at $5 a month for the first year, will be assessed beginning a month after the containers are delivered, he said.

The ordinance approved Tuesday establishes a curbside recycling service for all residential utility customers in the city who receive trash collection. Others, including businesses, can also sign up to pay the fee and receive curbside recycling pickup.

In addition, the ordinance establishes fines for those who place non-recyclables in the recycling container or allow the recyclables to remain at the street for an extended period of time.

The recycling ordinance also addresses dumpsters, roll-off boxes and portable storage units, establishing a permitting process for the portable storage units, also known as pods. Pods were not previously addressed in the city code, Mayor Brooks Fetters explained.

Citations can be issued if the dumpsters, roll-off boxes or pods are left in place for longer than the permitted time or if they impede use of the sidewalk or street. If the citations are ignored, the city can remove the items.

Also during Tuesday's meeting, council members heard Adam Drummond explain the Early Learning Alliance, a program of the Huntington County United Way.

Drummond, who chairs the alliance, said the goal of the organization is to provide an affordable, quality learning experience for children from birth to age 8. A major thrust is promotion of the Paths to Quality program, a state program that certifies high quality early learning and child care programs. Only about a third of the child care and preschool programs in Huntington County have opted in to the program and are recognized by the state as high quality programs, Drummond said.

Other programs that have not opted in to Paths to Quality may also be high quality programs, Drummond said, but they are not recognized by the state as such. Parents of children in programs that reach a specified Paths to Quality level can apply for state vouchers to help pay for child care, he said.

Drummond said the alliance is working to raise awareness of the Paths to Quality program and help local child care and preschool programs achieve certification. The alliance can help local programs research grants to fund physical improvements to their buildings to meet Paths to Quality requirements. In addition, the Huntington County Community Learning Center offers programs in early childhood education for caregivers to help local preschools and child care programs meet Paths to Quality training requirements.