By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer
The Cumberland County Budget Committee unanimously approved allowing Mayor Kenneth Carey Jr. the right to execute an option to purchase property located next to the county's recycling center.
The subject came up during last week's budget committee meeting. The county is in the middle of applying for a grant from the state for creating a recycling hub facility and single stream recycling line.
"A property owner has come forward and is willing to sell property near the recycling center at a reasonable amount of money and the grant we are applying for would probably allow the change," Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey Jr. said.
Carey said the property is on Marietta St. directly next to the recycling center and includes a 25,000 square-foot building that could easily be converted and used for the recycling program.
Mike Harvel, 7th District commissioner, who works for the county at the recycling center, said the property is 2.11 acres and includes the building for roughly $700,000.
"It would be double the square footage of the building that we were going to build for the single stream site," Harvel said.
"What will that do to the cost of the project? Won't it go up?" Carmin Lynch, 9th District commissioner asked.
"Yes, it would raise it by about $400,000 but I feel the county could even put it on a five-year note if we had to and pay it back with the revenue that's going to come from the program," Harvel said.
Nancy Hyder, 2nd District commissioner expressed some concerns over the project.
"My only concern is that recycling is down right now. We got that glass machine and I don't think we've sold a lot of it and haven't seen as much as we thought we were going to," Hyder said.
"We have sold some, but some who were buying have backed off for now, but with the glass we have saved a ton on tipping fees. So we have saved a lot," Harvel said. "I just wanted to see if there was an interest in this because if we don't get that land, once we build that building for single stream, then we won't have anywhere else to go for expansion in the future."
"Well, I'd like to see a business case for it before I could vote on it. We haven't hit the revenue that was expected," Lynch said.
"I wanted to bring it all to you and see if there was any interest. If there's no interest than I won't bother changing the application. I think it'll probably work okay 'cause I talked with the man from the state and explained we'd be getting more property and a building much bigger than we had planned," Harvel said. "As far as revenue, I know for a fact that single stream line will cut the tipping fees and bring in more revenue. With the extra building space we may be able to hold some of that (recyclable) stuff until the prices go up and then sell."
Carey said they needed to do something on the property fairly quick.
Dave Hassler, 3rd District commissioner, made a motion to allow Carey to execute an option on the property next to the recycling center.
Harry Sabine, 1st District commissioner, supported the motion and it was unanimously passed.
Having an option on the property does not commit the county to purchasing the property, but gives the county the option to purchase the property for certain amount of time.
Harvel abstained from the vote.