Muncy discusses garbage, recycling with fiscal court

Published 7:26 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Boyle County Solid Waste Director Angela Muncy got to brag on her employees and get a good word in for recycling during budget workshops held by the fiscal court Tuesday morning.

As magistrates reviewed the proposed solid waste and recycling budgets for next fiscal year, Muncy told them not many counties in Kentucky offer free waste-disposal “convenience centers” to their residents like Boyle does.

“If I’m hearing you right, this is a real plus for those who live here?” asked Magistrate John Caywood.

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“As far as I’m concerned, it is very much so,” Muncy said.

“I’m not sure that the citizens maybe all know that,” Caywood said.

“No, they have no idea,” Muncy said.

“We need to help them learn,” Caywood responded.

Muncy said her employees who run the convenience centers put up with a lot to provide the service for local residents, who unfortunately don’t always appreciate the work they do.

“I’m having a real issue now that everybody likes to put their personal waste in bags now,” Muncy said.

“Did you just say what I thought you said?” asked a stunned Mary Conley, county treasurer.

“Yeah, that’s exactly what I said, but being nice about it,” Muncy responded.

“No way — is that right?” asked Judge-Executive Howard Hunt.

“Oh yes way,” Muncy said. “You know, a lot of people think them men out there — you know, they take a beating from the public; they really do. They take more than I would probably take. But they get a lot of stuff that’s dangerous. … You pick up a bunch of stuff and you get that personal waste spilled on you and it’s bad.

“Everybody thinks they got it made out there, sittin’, and they don’t, because the public gives them really a hard time.”

“My next question is why? Why do they do this?” asked Magistrate Phil Sammons incredulously. “… Why do people actually put their personal waste … ?”

“I’ll tell you what — you let me know when you figure it out Phil,” Muncy said.

“We don’t need to be talking about this,” Conley said. “This is not something I can talk about.”

“I just didn’t know anybody would” ever do that, Sammons said.

“Well, I wasn’t surprised … but you know, I’ve been in it 14 years,” Muncy said.

“We’re not living in Korea or China or something,” Sammons said.

The discussion quickly moved on to a cleaner topic — the recycling budget.

Conley compared the net cost to Boyle County’s general fund of the solid waste services to recycling services to show how much cheaper it is for the county when residents choose to recycle. While net solid waste costs have varied from around $650,000 to $814,000 annually over the last five years, the cost for the county’s recycling program has averaged less than $58,000.

That’s because of the money the county gets back selling the recyclables, Conley explained.

“Recycling isn’t an end-all, be-all,” she said. “It does cost money, but disposing of that waste is a lot less expensive than disposing of other waste.

And Muncy told the court she has plans to increase how much money Boyle gets for its recycling. Instead of selling all paper recycling to another company, which then sorts the paper into mixed and white categories, Boyle has begun doing that sorting itself.

The financial implications could be substantial because sorted white paper is valuable — worth around $2.90 per pound right now, she said.

In the month and a half that Boyle has been sorting its white paper, it has generated eight bales of the stuff, with each bale weighing between 900 and 1,200 pounds, she said.

Muncy’s single big request for next fiscal year is to upgrade a part-time recycling position to full-time so that they can keep up with all the sorting and continue turning a bigger profit. The cost of the upgraded position is estimated at $31,000 including salary and benefits, but Muncy said she believes it could “absolutely” pay for itself and then some — as long as recycling market prices don’t crash.

“With the market prices, I can’t sit here and guarantee anything,” she said. “That’s just the way it is.”

Multiple magistrates said they liked the proposal. Magistrate Jason Cullen noted there is an expected retirement on the solid waste side of things coming early in 2020, meaning if for some reason the new full-time position doesn’t pay for itself, the county could take it back to a part-time position and shift someone into the newly opened position, preventing anyone from losing a full-time job.

“I would say let’s give it a shot,” Cullen said. “If we can make some money off this and possibly pay for his salary and some others, let’s go.”

Muncy noted the recycling program only gets more financially successful the more people use it.

“The more recycling we can get people to do, the more our prices go down as far as solid waste,” she said. “The market is a hard game … and I’m risking things now by turning it upside down, but in the end, I’m hoping it will work.”

Magistrates also reviewed proposed budgets for animal control, the building inspector’s office and emergency management. Building Inspector Rusty Cox agreed to help develop a new process for making sure subcontractors pay their contractor license fees of $50 apiece; and magistrates said they were open to a request from Emergency Management Director Mike Wilder for a 5-percent raise.