Boone County Justice of the Peace Fred Woehl had some questions about grant money when the Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District board met last week.
Woehl serves on the board as a proxy for Boone County Judge Robert Hathaway. His appointment was approved by the Boone County Quorum Court.
First, Woehl pointed out that the district received $180,634 in recycling grants, but less than $1,700 was paid out. He wanted to know where the rest of that money was spent.
Solid waste district director Melinda Caldwell said that money is in the district’s bank account and hasn’t been appropriated while the district is still under receivership.
District lawyer John Verkamp explained that there used to be restrictions on that money received from the state requiring it only be used for recycling programs.
But a change in state law allows for those grant dollars to be used for other purposes.
The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has almost completed the permanent closure of NABORS landfill in northern Boone County. When the agency finishes, it will turn over monitoring of the landfill to the solid waste district, so that money will be needed to pay for removal and treatment of leachate coming from the landfill cells, Verkamp said.
Monitoring will be an ongoing issue for some 30 years.
Woehl also asked about $10,700 in electronic waste grants that hasn’t been paid out to counties in the district.
Caldwell said some money was paid to counties that run their own e-waste collection facilities. Boone County doesn’t operate such a program. The remaining money covers costs of shipping recycled electronics.
When Woehl asked how counties could get access to the funds, Caldwell said state law still mandates that e-waste grants only be used for electronic waste.
Moving on to the district’s tire recycling program, Woehl noted that Boone County had received $3,350, while Carroll, Marion, Newton and Searcy counties get $13,000 each.
Caldwell said that’s because the other counties run their own tire collection facilities.
Boone County didn’t have one, so Hudson Tire and Battery offered to be the collection center. However, some tires would make their way into the Dry Jordan Creek bed, so some grant money was used to build berms behind the business to stop that.
Champlin Tire Recycling, Inc. received more than 70% of tire recycling grant money and Woehl asked if that was the true purpose of those funds.
Caldwell said Champlin had been contracted to take all the district’s used tires and is even helping remove tires from the Damco site in Baxter County, which ADEQ is also cleaning up.
When Woehl asked about that contract, Verkamp said ADEQ usually requires a contract, but because the district is under receivership and can’t enter into contractual agreements the agency has granted the district the leeway to operate with Champlin under the terms of the old contract.