City Staff Still Looking for More Cost-Effective Plan
MONTROSE — The Montrose City Council is on the brink of signing an emergency contract with a local trucking company to haul the city's weekly recycling material to Colorado Springs, while city staff members hash out a more cost-effective plan for the future.
Last December, the operator of the San Miguel Area Resource-Recovery Transfer Station (SMARTS) and the city agreed that transferring municipal recycling material to a Colorado Springs facility was more cost-effective than using TS Landfill Corporation's Broad Canyon dump between Naturita and Nucla.
However, in early April of this year, that changed when the SMARTS facility began re-grading areas of its property for better drainage, and to control moisture accumulation, according to SMARTS Executive Director Jonathan Greenspan.
Greenspan said the improvements were voluntary, following a January state inspection of the facility's grounds.
"I had to remove storage containers to dry out the yard. We’re presently re-doing earth work," Greenspan said.
Since the improvements began, the city stopped making biweekly deliveries to SMARTS. Neither party has contacted the other.
Instead, the city is likely to draft a contract with S&S Trucking, a Montrose company, to make weekly deliveries of recyclables to the Bestway facility in Colorado Springs.
The contract is for a period of six months. Meanwhile, the city will continue to search for other options, which could include reconsidering its contract with SMARTS, according to Montrose Public Works Director John Harris.
Harris said staff members will handle the process internally, but said the city needs a "dependable source" to deliver on its recycling commitments.
Greenspan and Harris both agreed that transferring recyclables by truck to the Front Range – and, in the process, burning thousands of gallons of diesel fuel – is not the most cost-effective way to manage the recycling program.
"We recognize that trucking is not the best way … this is mostly emergency transportation," Harris said.
Harris said Cornerstone trucking was handling the city’s deliveries to SMARTS, but that S&S Trucking is more capable of delivering to Colorado Springs. He said new negotiations could reduce trucking rates to what the city was previously paying – or even below that.
The city had planned to handle about 100 yards of recycling material per week, but instead is managing nearly twice that much: "We’re seeing about double of what we thought we would see,” Harris said.
A year ago, the city canceled its curbside recycling program, citing rising costs. Late last year, to save even more money, the city stopped disposing of recycled material.