September 12, 2010 12:12:00 AM
A contract dispute could spell the end for Starkville''s year-long curbside pickup recycling service.
Stan Shurden, owner and manager of Starkville Recycling, activated a 60-day notice-of-cancellation clause in his contract with the city after receiving a breach-of-contract letter from the Department of Sanitation.
The curbside pickup, which runs on Wednesdays, has been in effect just short of a year and serves approximately 1,000 participating residents. The seven-year-old company plans to cease its cooperation with the city, which provides the trucks and labor for collection, Nov. 10. Five recycling drop-off spots around the city will remain in operation.
Mayor Parker Wiseman said the breach-of-contract occurred when Starkville Recycling failed to provide monthly reports as specified in its contract with the city, a claim Shurden disputes.
"We fax (the reports monthly) to (head of sanitation) Sharon Boyd''s office. Sometimes it''s a phone call. She''ll call and say ''How many pounds (of recyclables) did we come in with?''" he said. "The breach of contract letter doesn''t say anything about any report. They just wanted to know when we''ll have our other scales up and running."
The "other scales" are a new set of scales designed to weigh only the recyclables. Previously, Starkville Recycling has used truck scales to weigh city sanitation trucks before and after dumping their loads to determine the weight of the recyclables.
Shurden claims his monthly report provides a total and weekly weight of recyclables collected as well as breaks the numbers down by type, such as plastic, aluminum cans or paper.
Wiseman says the city is willing to continue the contract as long as Starkville Recycling abides by its terms, but Shurden says his company has lost $15,000 in labor costs during the year-long partnership.
"We went to the mayor to see if we could add some kind of amendment (to the contract) to recover the loss of wages. He told me he would look into it. Then (Friday) he just flat out told me we did not have an agreement," said Shurden.
Starkville provides the trucks and sanitation workers free of charge on Wednesdays. Shurden says the lost labor comes from providing a 10-man sorting line which separates the recyclables once they''re dumped at Starkville Recycling. Furthermore, he said he never intended the pickup service to make money, simply to break even.
He believed the city would be willing to share the cost considering the money Starkville Recycling has helped save.
"Since opening our place in 2003 we have collected 14,122 tons of recyclables. If you were to multiply that by $23.50 per ton -- what the Golden Triangle Landfill charges to dump -- Starkville Recycling has saved the city $331,867," he said.
If the contract dispute is not settled before Nov. 10, residents can still drop off mixed recyclables at the green Starkville Recycling Dumpsters at Dirt Co. at 211 C.C. Clark Road, Synergetics on Highway 12 and fire stations on South Montgomery and Lampkin Street. Starkville Recycling accepts newspapers, cardboard, aluminum cans, plastics, paper and scrap metal.
1. Murder, arson trial begins for Lowndes teen COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Shifting to local: Coffee shop rebrands after getting new owner COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY