If Senate Bill 13 passes the state legislature, control of about $700,000 to $800,000 in annual tipping fees from Southwest Missouri landfills would pass from a local board to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
The Carthage City Council went on record in January opposing the proposal by State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia to eliminate local solid waste management districts and turn over control of grants for recycling projects, tire reclamation, electronics buy-back programs and other waste management programs to the DNR.
On Tuesday, the Jasper County Commissioners joined Carthage and leaders from Joplin and other cities across the area to oppose the bill.
“It eliminates the whole Region M and makes it under all one umbrella,” said Western District Commissioner Darieus Adams. “And then bureaucrats get to decide who gets the money and I think we can do a better job allocating the money.”
“Right now Region M is our management district and that’s what runs our litter cleanup program,” added Eastern District Commissioner Jim Honey. “All the grants are run locally, we get this tipping fee from the landfill at Lamar/ We’re one of the largest solid waste management regions in the state and it’s running great.”
Schaefer’s office in Jefferson City did not return a call from The Carthage Press seeking comment on his bill.
The bill was heard on Tuesday Jan. 29, in the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Environment Committee.
In one of Schaefer’s weekly reports to his constituents around the Columbia area, the senator said the bill eliminates solid waste management districts and reduces landfill tipping fees by the amount previously used on district overhead and administration.
In this area, the Region M Solid Waste Management District, managed by the Harry S Truman Coordinating Council of Governments office in Carl Junction, has given out at least $6 million in grants to cities, counties and other entities in Jasper, Newton McDonald, Barton, Vernon and other counties over the past 10 years.
“We distribute between $500,000 and $700,000 in grants every year,” said Harry Rogers, former Carthage Mayor and director of the Truman Coordinating Council of Governments.
In Carthage, those grants have gone to make dramatic improvements to the Carthage Recycling Center on Macon Street near the Interstate 49 overpass.
New buildings have been built, and the facility now bales the cardboard it receives, collects glass, plastic and metal waste and collects electronic waste.
Schaefer’s bill calls for reducing landfill tipping fees by the amount equal to the administrative costs of the regional solid waste management districts.
Rogers said administrating the districts does cost money, but it’s better to have local control of the money than to pass that control to a state agency.
Page 2 of 2 - “I don’t understand how anyone could think that the DNR could do a better job of administering the money than local officials that have a heart-felt desire to help their areas,” Rogers said. “We really want elected officials everywhere to understand and get involved in this issue.”