Urbana City Council to discuss environment, recycling services at meeting

Recycling will be one of the main points on the agenda for the Urbana City Council on Monday night.

The council is voting on whether it should transfer more money into a recycling project fund since the program has gotten a little more expensive, said Charlie Smyth, Ward 1.

Passing an ordinance for battery recycling would add $3,000 to a $10,000 recycling project fund. The extra funds will increase pick-up services that will assist residents in dropping off used batteries. The fund will cover the expenses for this fiscal year, said Dennis Roberts, Ward 5.

“The amount of pounds of batteries have increased by 45 percent,” Roberts said. “In 2008, 5,000 pounds of single-used alkaline and lithium batteries were collected. In 2009, 7,000 pounds of batteries were collected.”

Urbana residents pay about $250 a month for recycling services, which would go toward battery pick-up if the ordinance is approved, Smyth said.

“We run a little more surplus in our budget,” Smyth said. “We have sufficient money to pay. It’s a good thing to be doing.”

On the topic of environment, an update from the Sustainability Advisory Committee will also take place at Monday’s meeting. The advisory committee tracks the city’s efforts to cut down its gas emissions, Roberts said.

The committee will give a report on the climate action plan, which is a summary of the estimated quantity of greenhouse gases produced by the City of Urbana excluding the University, said Diane Marlin, Ward 7.

In 2007, there were 562,368 tons of carbon dioxide gas emissions produced by the city.

Marlin said the sustainability advisory commission will hold two public information meetings to hear input from the public and to start developing strategies to reduce emission levels. The meetings will be held on Feb. 24 and Mar. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Urbana Civic Center.

Besides the draft ordinance for battery recycling, the issue of commercial recycling is one of the other main points on the agenda. The commercial recycling proposal is meant for businesses to put their recyclables en route to either one of the programs: the multi-family or the single-family program, Smyth said. The two programs, however, are already running at capacity.

“What I proposed was to allow to sign up to use those services,” he said. “We really have to come up with a third program – a third way of doing new businesses – a program where the garbage hauler for that business needs to provide a recycling option to that business or subcontract to a business that does have a recycling service.”

The discussion at the meeting will be a step toward implementing the proposed program for the Urbana community.