By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
The concept of “regional recycling” will continue for the City of London, after city council members approved a memorandum of understanding with three other governments to get recycling grants.
The action was taken during the council’s first meeting for the new year held Monday at London City Hall.
London, Laurel County, Rockcastle County and the City of Manchester are partners in the agreement, which will enable the group to get grants from Eastern Kentucky PRIDE (Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment). Based in Somerset, the non-profit organization seeks to clean up southern and eastern Kentucky’s solid waste problems, improve water quality and promote environmental education.
Before the vote, new council member Jim Hays asked the city’s public works director, Steve Edge, a few questions about the recycling program at the London Recycling Center.
“Of all the types recycled, which is the most lucrative, and gets the biggest money?” Hays asked. Edge, who is also a PRIDE co-coordinator for London, replied, “Shredded paper. It’s high volume.”
When Hays asked, “What’s the least?” Edge said, “Probably junk plastic. It’s also high volume.”
“What electronic equipment can go in (for recycling)?” asked Hays. Edge told him, “Computers and monitors. The old ‘tube type’ TV sets go to the landfill.”
Mayor Troy Rudder said during the meeting the city has had the regional recycling arrangement for the last few years. He pointed out afterwards the recycling efforts have paid off handsomely.
“Mixing shredded paper with a type of pulp has been a big success in recycling. After all the bills are paid, the center generates about a $600,000 profit.”
Approval was also given to the second reading of an ordinance, bringing property owned by the Laurel County Board Education into the city by means of voluntary annexation. The tract of land is 19.48 acres, and is near North Laurel Middle School at the intersection of Ky. 472 and the Hal Rogers Parkway.
“The annexation of the property was requested by the school board. It’s not in a boundary of any incorporated city. We were required by the state to have GPS descriptions. That’s the primary reason for this (ordinance), to provide those GPS coordinates,” said City Attorney Larry Bryson.
Upon publication, the ordinance becomes law.
Action on a piece of vacant property on 4th Street was also discussed, with city Building Inspector Doug Gilbert and property owner Doug Benge going before the council. Gilbert said the city’s Vacant Property Board reviewed the house and declared it vacant and abandoned.
“I’ve painted it, new windows, new roof and I’ve stripped it down. … I’m not in the financial condition to continue it. It’s not ready for residential or commercial use,” said Benge.
“The ordinance says all he has to do is to keep it in order. It could be used as a storage building,” Gilbert replied to the council.
Benge noted, “It’s going to stay empty. I’m not going to rent to the general public. It’s a work in progress.”
After discussion, council members voted to allow Benge 90 days to bring the property back in order and to “get it blending in with the community.”
Among other actions, approval was given for a “Walk for Autism” in London on April 27. Walk organizer Shannon Smith said 100 people have signed up for the walk, with Smith setting up a committee for raising funds for the event. The money will be in a fund set up at PNC Bank, with half the proceeds going to Camp Leap, a summer program for special needs children, and the other half going to the Optimist Club. Rudder suggested Smith work with Police Chief Stewart Walker on the parade route and other planning.
The council also approved Saturday, June 29, as the date for the city’s annual 4th of July Celebration. And a committee to review the city’s alcohol ordinance in regards to its entertainment section was formed. Rudder, Walker and council members Nancy Vaughn and Judd Weaver are on the committee, which plans to make updates to the ordinance. Rudder added the work will take two work sessions to go over the material, and hopes to have more on the findings at the next council meeting.
Before the session began, Rudder welcomed Hays to the council, adding, “This is his first go-around. So just jump in with both feet.” Hays replied, “Everything you heard is good about me.”
Hays, who ran in 2006 and 2010, was one of the six candidates who won council seats in November. The others were incumbents Vaughn, Weaver, Bobby Joe Palmer, Jason Handy and Danny Phelps. Incumbent Sharon J. Benge, who served on the council for eight terms, did not make the cut and was defeated in her re-election effort.