The Starke County Commissioners are considering the construction of a new building to house the Starke County Environmental Management Agency.
The building would be constructed on the northwest portion of property that is home to the Starke County Highway Department. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler submitted figures for a new well or tie-in to the existing well, a new entrance with new culvert, septic installation, and fencing at a preliminary cost of nearly $27,500. If an automated gate can be installed, the estimated cost would be nearly $28,700.
These estimates are in addition to the construction of a new building.
Commissioner Kathy Norem, who serves on the Solid Waste Board along with Commissioners Don Binkley and Charlie Chesak and other appointees, said the board members are looking at this option as the cost of recycling will increase dramatically.
“The Solid Waste Board has to look at what options we have at this point because we can no longer afford, with the present stream of revenue, to keep all of the recycling bins out,” explained Norem. “So, our options would be, which we really didn’t discuss, to increase the tax to the people or to consolidate into one focal point where people could bring their true recyclables – because a lot of the problem is the bins are being contaminated.”
A separate building placed at the highway garage would allow Director Carrie Trent-Kuchel to better police what items are being deposited into the recycling bins, especially with an automated gate.
According to preliminary talks, the commissioners would fund the construction costs to build the building and then lease it to the Solid Waste District.
The commissioners did unanimously approve a motion to move forward with discussions concerning this option rather than raising taxes. More will be reviewed at the next Solid Waste Board on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 5:30 p.m. in the meeting room in the Starke County Annex Building No. 1 at 53 E. Mound Street in Knox.