August 5, 2022 |

The Rawlins City Council approved a $3 increase to the recycling fee on third and final reading last month. The exact same issue was back before the governing body this week.

The increase passed once again, but this time two councilmembers voted “nay” instead of one.

The measure came back as a resolution. Previously it had been considered as an ordinance. City Attorney Gwendolyn Wade explained the reason for the change and why another vote on the issue was necessary despite its final passage in July.

The city attorney apologized for making the governing body revisit its work. City Councilman Debari Martinez, who voted in favor of the increase during each of the three previous votes, asked for a clarification.

Councilman Martinez later voted “no” on the increase in its new resolution form.

Councilman Chris Weisenberg was the lone “no” vote during the three readings of the recycling hike proposal when it was in ordinance form. Nothing changed Tuesday night, either. Weisenberg said he was going to vote “no” again, and he reiterated his concern that with recycling now limited to one drop-off point, the city will provide a less convenient service at a higher cost.

The Ward 3 Councilman suggested using a small section of Fire Station 2, saying it was a secure area that would deter people from dumping their regular household trash in with recycling materials, like cardboard, bottles and plastic containers. The recycling staff removed widely available bins from locations around town because some residents were stuffing them with regular household trash, creating extra work and driving up recycling costs. Station 2 is located at 520 West State Street on the south side. Weisenberg suggested using surveillance cameras to discourage abuse.

Pictured above: File photo of the Rawlins Recycling Center. Photo by Cali O’Hare/Bigfoot 99.

Councilman Martinez of Ward 1 said the original location of the recycling bin was a target of abuse. However, Martinez said he liked the idea of finding a secure location that was more convenient for residents than driving across town to participate in the recycling program.

Other councilmembers, including Aaron Durst of Ward 3, said finding and developing secure locations was a low priority.

Mayor Terry Weickum agreed, saying he did not want to see a lot of money spent on establishing a secure recycling location when staff reports suggest the recycling center has seen an increase in business with just the one location in the last few months.

When the motion for the recycling fee went to a vote, this time as a resolution and not an ordinance, it passed, but with an additional “nay.” The final vote was 5-2.

The $3 recycling fee increase was not included in the utility bills that were sent to Rawlins’ residents this week. The $6 recycling fee will be on next month’s bill.

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