Sunday, April 27, 2008
Recycling Plans Set Back
In a surprise move, Mayor David Bower has dismissed the Raytown Recycling Task Force Committee. Members of the Committee, who recently completed successful negotiations to relocate Raytown’s recycling center, were shocked by the announcement. Time is Our Enemy . . . On September 12, 2007 Mayor Bower officially appointed the Recycling Task Force Committee with goals of finding a new home for the city’s recycling center and developing a comprehensive plan for recycling in Raytown. The Committee has accomplished the first goal and was prepared to move forward with discussions of the more complicated goal of developing a plan for curbside recycling. The first hurdle, or, as one member of the Board of Aldermen phrased, the first “baby step”, in reaching the goal of curbside recycling was next on the Committee’s agenda. The State of Missouri requires a two-year waiting period from the time it is officially announced that the city is considering recycling before any program can be put in place. The notification takes the form of a resolution* voted on and approved by the Board of Aldermen in public session to officially start the clock running on the two-year process. The resolution is non-binding. It merely means that the City may consider a curbside recycling program after a two-year wait. It does not mean the city will take the curbside route – only that it can legally do so after the two-year waiting period. Time is the enemy. Without the two-year waiting period any relevant discussion of curbside recycling is impossible. Mayor Bower has been made aware of that requirement. Members of the Committee have given their assurance that once the clock is started, that city staff will not be used in any discussions of recycling until he deems it necessary. Some committee members have suggested that the Committee take a sabbatical from the issue once the two-year clock has been started. The two-year waiting period does not require the question of recycling be addressed immediately in two years. But it is not possible to move forward until that requirement is reached. As Mayor, David Bower has the authority to appoint and (for lack of a better term) un-appoint committees as he sees fit. No one is contesting that. By pulling the plug on the goals he himself set – especially the one event (two year notification) required to continue worthwhile discussion on the matter – does not make sense. It is contrary to the goals set forth in the Mayor’s September 12th memo. The Recycling Committee is meeting Monday evening to see what course to take in the wake of the mayor’s announcement. The Mayor has an opportunity to right the course of the issue. It is hoped a compromise can be reached by which the resolution will be allowed to proceed followed by a waiting period before any further action is taken by the Committee. * The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) had provided the Recycling Committee with the Resolution language. The Committee forwarded the language to the City Attorney's office. CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS: SUNDAY, April 20, 2008: Bower sends a memo to Committee members Greg Walters and Pat Ertz informing them that it appears the Recycling Committee has completed its goals and objectives and that this might be the time to thank the committee members for their efforts. Bower continues that staff time was needed to focus on economic development and that the continued efforts in waste management could be restarted at a later date. MONDAY, April 21, 2008: The Chairman of the Committee, Alderman Greg Walters, shares the information in Bower’s memo with members of the Committee. He invites the Mayor to the Committee’s next meeting (scheduled for Monday, April 28th). He explains that the Committee’s plans are not set in concrete and that valuable city staff time will not be tapped for future plans. TUESDAY, April 22, 2008 (Earth Day): Bower releases a letter to Raytown Recycling Committee members thanking them for their service. He expresses hope that they will volunteer again.