Pulaski County Commissioners Discuss Recycling at Recent Meeting

Pulaski County Commissioners Tracey Shorter, Kenneth Boswell, Michael Tiede

There was some heated discussion regarding the recycling center’s purchase of aluminum and other recyclables at the last Pulaski County Commissioners meeting. Ed Clark, of the Pulaski County Recycling Center, approached the commissioners and mentioned his interest in allowing the recycling center to once again purchase aluminum from county residents and businesses.

The recycling center was previously able to purchase recyclables, but this practice stopped April 1st, 2009, when the Commissioners and the Council decided to stop funding the $110,000 budget for purchasing aluminum because of money issues that year. This was the first time in its 33 year history that they stopped purchasing aluminum from the County, after being established in 1978.

The request to once again purchase aluminum did not sit well with local business owner Bobby Rugg, CEO of JSI Steel in Winamac. Because her company deals specifically with metals, including aluminum, she feels that if the recycling center begins paying for donations of aluminum it would be competing with her business.

“My biggest problem is I don’t understand why I have to compete against the county when Sanders doesn’t, and the Frain Mortuary doesn’t and everything like that. It’s kind of one of those things where, why am I trying to do what I can to contribute tax dollars and continue to grow my business and to be as good a part of the community as I can and hire more people when I have to compete against my own taxpayer money when it doesn’t need to be that way,” said Rugg.

In 2008, the recycling center paid $0.70 a pound for aluminum, but in September of that year the price dropped to $0.20 a pound due to a price decrease in the market. When the price was high and the market was good, the recycling center was making an average of $0.32 per pound after sale, but that amount dropped drastically later in the year.

When the recycling center stopped purchasing the aluminum but still accepted donations, the amount they received dropped from 227,177 pounds of aluminum down to 25,755 pounds. This drop in aluminum caused the recycling center to lose $30,000 in part-time help.

The discussion was tabled and will likely be discussed further at the next Commissioners meeting, scheduled February 21st. The issue was going to be brought up to the Town Board at their next meeting, but because it was tabled by the commissioners, it will have to wait until it has been further discussed before it can be brought to the Town Board.