January 4, 2013 11:40:37 AM
When the Starkville Board of Aldermen approved the 2013 fiscal budget in September, some cuts were made in sanitation and environmental services.
Now, thanks to a grant from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Emma Gandy. director of the city's department of sanitation and environmental services, will get a little relief from those cutbacks over the next two years.
Starkville will receive $13,500 over a two-year period, and the money will go to supplement Code Enforcement Division Inspector Jeff Lyles' salary. Lyles' is expected to be more involved with solid waste codes as a result of the grant.
Gandy said the money the department normally would have allocated to code enforcement is not insignificant to sanitation and environmental services and will be a much-needed help.
"It allows us to use money we would have put towards (Lyles') salary and we can put them to use in other areas of the department, which is just huge, because we need to be freeing up as much extra money as possible," Gandy said. "Now we can look at adding additional aspects to our recycling program or any number of other things."
Freeing up budgeted money is a lifeline for Gandy's department, and she said intends on continuing a pursuit of as much grant funding as possible.
According to Gandy, some of the funding from the solid waste code enforcement grant will be put toward expanding the city's recycling program, which has done well over the past few years, but is a service that has relied almost exclusively on grant funding. Aside from grants, the recycling program is funded by a portion of the relative small $13 residential fee for garbage collection.
In 2011, the city paid nearly $64,000 for Waste Management to export recycled materials.
Currently, the recycling program only provides curbside pickup for the basic recyclable materials, which include paper, plastic, etc. Gandy said the department is looking to find how to go about handling used tires and household hazardous waste as well.
"Hopefully, we can eliminate some of that illegal dumping," she said. "That's the ultimate goal. Those are just some of the things we are working toward."