Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Support Recycling in Helena!! Public meeting this Wednesday, Tomorrow!!


Please show your support for Recycling tomorrow, Wednesday May 14th! A public meeting will be held by the consultant hired by the City of Helena and Lewis & Clark County Scratch Gravel Landfill District to evaluate solid waste and recycling services in the Helena area. As I wrote last fall and in the following links, the City of Helena and the Helena Valley are at a critical juncture. Decisions made by your elected City and County officials in the next couple months will determine the future of recycling in this community for years to come.

The meeting, hosted by Blue Ridge Services, is this Wednesday at 6pm in room 326 in the City County Building at 316 N Park.

If you cannot attend, please take a moment to let your Mayor and Commission know that you support Recycling. 

Thank you very much!


Matt E

Matthew A. Elsaesser, Commissioner
City of Helena, Montana, USA

I distributed the following (image right) memo to my peers on the Helena City Commission last week in preparation for our budget meeting held yesterday. The final budget work session for fiscal year 2015 will be June 2, 2014 at 3pm[details here]. Results from the efficiency study of the City and County solid waste and recycling systems will be unveiled and addressed throughout the Summer and Fall of this year. 

Mayor, Commissioner,

There are many opportunities for efficiency and increased services for waste collection and recycling at the City of Helena Transfer Station within the residential collection utility, and working with the Lewis & Clark County Landfill. A few things:

Attachment A
History: This community voted for an Integrated Solid Waste Management System that would include and encourage recycling. Recycling services have and are currently funded by tipping fees at the Transfer Station, though some fees now vary for some customers.
Attachment(s): _A [image right], D [linked here]___

Costs: Based on staff numbers provided last fall, recycling costs $25 per ton, while trash cost $75 per ton. City of Helena Transfer Station Recycling is supported by assessments on residents in the L & C Scratch Gravel Landfill District (and included East Helena until recently). City residents are paying more for the old landfill than they are for recycling. Attachment(s): E [Images right, linked here]

Transfer Station Capital: The $1,000,000+ capital plans for storing garbage trucks, collecting construction debris into the pit, and managing trash compaction should stay on hold until conclusion of the study. These funds should be invested in diverting construction and demolition waste (C&D) for use as soft fill, recycling market (e.g. gypsum), or the C & D area of the landfill. [a related post here]

De-Coupling: The City’s solid waste and collection operations should be recognized as a tax funded service independent of tonnage (attachment E, shown & linked above). Unused self-haul tonnage by resident (City and County) should be a point system that can account for additional process cost for electronic and household hazardous wastes.

Curbside Recycling: Seventy thousand dollars from FY 2014 per the increased assessment in Residential Solid Waste and Recycling approved last year by the Commission should be designated for recycling. Fiscal Year 2015 funding should recognize this same allocation and fund designated for the blue bag program. These funds may be used support a basic curbside option (e.g. blue bag program with own bins and corrugated cardboard collection), a partnership to encourage glass collection by private parties, or other options that should include RFP’s and annual or semi-annual review.

I have also attached my budget memo from June 2013. Following today’s discussion, I will request more formal amendments our final budget meeting.


- Matt E..

Matthew A. Elsaesser, Commissioner
City of Helena, Montana, USA
316 N Park, Helena, 59623