The city of Mitchell’s recycling process is evolving to a single-stream system, ending the existing curbside pickup recycling method.

Throughout the city’s exploration to implement new recycling methods in hopes of boosting participation, the Mitchell City Council voted Monday to transition its process to a single-stream system. The recycling shakeup was approved in a 6-1 vote, with Council member Steve Rice representing the lone vote to deny the switch to single-stream.

In the city’s review of the current curbside recycling process, Public Works Director Kyle Croce said the single-stream method stood out as a positive method to welcome in the city of Mitchell.

“The data provided with single-stream helped us conclude that we would reduce the trash going into the landfill, and increase recycling participation,” Croce said, noting the city’s current residential participation rate is at 26 percent. “We feel we could get the recycling participation increase to hover at the 50 percent mark just as Yankton has done since recently switching to single-stream.”

With the recycling change, residents would be provided a 90 gallon blue cart with rolling wheels similar to the city’s trash bins, allowing for more recycled items than the existing small blue bin. The city would also purchase the blue carts and disperse them to residents.

The recycling switch would entail the city to purchase all of the equipment necessary to serve as the new recycling contractor, which would cost the city a total of $1,095,000.

To help fund the equipment and implementation of single-stream, Croce said the city would be able to apply for grants that could likely cover 30 percent ($328,500) of the roughly $1 million worth of costs. Should the city secure the desired funds, it would cost the city $766,500 to purchase the recycling collection truck, pay loader, building and shed, semi-tractor and trailer and walking floor trailer.

The city entered into a contract with Aberdeen-based Dependable Recycling in 2005, in which the city pays the sanitation company $23,800 per month. The city's existing contract with Aberdeen-based Dependable Recycling expires Dec. 31. While a $4 recycling fee is mandatory for all Mitchell residents, participation is voluntary.

Croce said Millennium Recycling Inc., a single-stream recycling company with a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) out of Sioux Falls, would be the site of where the city would haul all of its recycled items.

“We feel that partnering with DWU and the Mitchell School District, along with surrounding counties would greatly help educate more people on the importance of recycling, which will help our landfill,” Croce said.

Council member Steve Rice took issue with the city’s switch to single-stream recycling, citing the uncertainty shrouding the commercial recycling accounts that are included in the city’s existing contract with Dependable Recycling.

The city’s current contract with Dependable Recycling requires the company to recycle items from commercial accounts. However, Rice said the single-stream process the city will be entering -- which would rely on private sanitation businesses to recycle some commercial accounts -- is concerning.

“It costs the city $300,000 per year to recycle 1,200 tons of recyclables, and 800 tons of that number are commercial,” Rice said. “But with this program, the city is saying we don’t have to talk to any of the commercial accounts. So the commercial accounts would pay somebody, but not the city. But it would still cost the city $300,000, and we would just be picking up single-stream from houses.”

With the uncertainty surrounding the recycling pickup for commercial accounts, Rice said that material could likely end up at the city landfill.

In addition, Rice is concerned with the cost of investing in the new single-stream process to implement the recycling program.

“We would have to invest $1 million in city money in order to buy all of the trucks, refurbish the facility, transfer the material back. And we would then have to pay somebody else to dispose of it,” Rice said. “Today we don’t do any of that. And if we have an issue with who we have doing that, that’s an enforcement issue with the contract.”

Croce said he anticipates the education aspect included in the city’s new recycling program to help significantly boost participation.

“With the city implementing a municipal recycling program, we would be able to enter partnerships with Dakota Wesleyan University, Mitchell School District and downtown commercial businesses,” Croce said.

Brian Patrick, associate professor of Biology at DWU, spoke in support of the single-stream method.

Patrick’s main issue with the city’s existing recycling contractor is the frequency of recyclable items that are left in the blue bin.

“We have been trying for decades to get Dependable Recycling to come to the DWU campus and take our recycled items, but have got nowhere,” Patrick said.

According to Croce, estimated costs for a private commercial business to operate the single-stream, single family collection is $335,000 per year. Croce said a three-year contract would yield $1,005,000, with no capital investment.

To cover the estimated private commercial collection estimated costs in a request for proposal (RFP), the city would need to look at increasing the cost per account.

However, Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson said the $4 recycling cost would remain the same.

“We would not raise the costs at all, and I feel like this would be a good step in helping boost the participation we would like to see,” Everson said.

Consent agenda

The following items were considered as part of the consent agenda:

  • Approved the minutes of the July 1 council meeting.

  • Approved minutes of June 24, 2019, Planning Commission meeting.

  • Approved department reports.

  • Approved department reports.

  • Approved change order No. 1 for Phase I of East Central Drainage project to Menning Backhoe, LLC..

  • Approved new taxi license application for Richard John Foster III, of Lyft.

  • Set the date for MG Oil Company, doing business as Village Bowl 6 at 1500 N. Duff St., Suite F, using a portion of the Village Bowl parking lot for Cruisn’ for a Cuse.

  • Approved a special event permit and consumption permit for Village Bowl 6, located at 1500 N. Duff St., using a portion of the Village Bowl parking lot on August 17, 2019 for Cruisin’ for a Cause.

  • Approved July 15 and July 2 gas and fuel quotations.

  • Approved July 15 pay estimates.

  • Approved bills, payroll, salary adjustments and new employee hires.

Other business

  • Pledge of Allegiance, received invocation from Assembly of God, roll call, heard citizens’ input.

  • Met with Traffic Commission at 6 p.m.

  • Approved consent agenda.

  • Held hearings on the following: July 15, on the application of The Back 40 for a retail (on-off) sale malt beverage license located at 511 North Main Street, Mitchell, South Dakota (video lottery not included).

  • Approved quote for bi-yearly scrap iron.

  • Approved and award bid for waste tire collection and disposal project No. 2019-44.

  • Met as the Board of Adjustment.

  • Set the date for the following Board of Adjustment hearings: August 5 for Patricia Reimnitz’s application for a backyard variance of 20 feet vs. 25 feet to construct an attached entryway from the house to the garage at her 204 W. 13th Ave. home, legally described as lot 11, block 15, capital addition, city of Mitchell. The property is zoned in an R2 Single Family Residential District; August 5 for GC-VW Revocable Trust and Haley Marquardt’s application for a conditional use permit to operate a family residential child care center and childcare center, preschool and nursery business at the property located at 1525 S. Miller St., Sunnyside addition, in the city of Mitchell. The property is zoned R2 Single Family Residential District; August 5 for Danetrea Sonne’s application for a conditional use permit to operate a family residential child care center in her home located at 817 W. Douglas Ave. The property is zoned R2 Single Family Residential District.

  • Held hearings on the following: July 15 for Michele Hanten’s application for a conditional use permit to operate an animal hospital, clinic, boarding and shelter facility located 1104 W Havens, legally described as irregular tract six, lot six and irregular tract eight, platted various, in the southwest quarter of Section 21, township 103 north, range 60 west, city of Mitchell; July 15 for Amanda Nava’s application for a conditional use permit to operate a family residential child care business located at 516 W. 10th Ave., legally described as lot eight, block 39, capital addition, city of Mitchell.

  • Reconvened as City Council

  • Approved implementation of single-stream recycling collection and processing of recyclables.

  • Approved Agreement No. A2019-29, for Infrastructure Design Group’s development of a hydraulic model of the city’s water distribution system.

  • Approved ratification of Agreement No. A2019-31, Emergency Animal Abuse Response Contract.

  • Approved Resolution No. R2019-50, a plat of lot D in the northeast quarter of section, township 103 north, range 60 west of the fifth P.M, city of Mitchell.

  • Approved Resolution No. R2019-51, a plat of lot six in tract H, Wild Oak Golf Club addition to the city of Mitchell.

  • Approved Resolution No. R2019-52, authorization of an abatement for a nuisance property at 518 N. Rowley St.

  • Adopted Ordinance No. O2019-09, request public comment and roll cal.

  • Held second reading of Ordinance No. O2019-09, an ordinance of the city of Mitchell that changes the zoning district classification of the real property legally described as block 19, home park first addition, Davison County, from R4 high density residential district to Transportation, Warehousing, and Commercial (TWC) District.

  • Held first reading of Ordinance No. #O2019-10, an ordinance that changes the zoning district classification of the real property legally described as; lots 1 and 2, block 24 and the north half of vacated alley, original addition, city of Mitchell, from Central Business (CB) District to Transportation, Warehousing, And Commercial (TWC) District, along with lots 3-6, block 24 and the north half of vacated alley, lots 7 through 11 and the south half of vacated alley, block 24, original district, city of Mitchell from an R2 Single Family Residential District to TWC District.

  • Held first reading of Ordinance No. O2019-11, property owner liability for unpaid utility charges and fees.