County board to consider proposed recycling millage

MARQUETTE — A millage that would support the transition to single-stream and glass recycling in Marquette County may appear on the Aug. 6 primary election ballot.

Officials from the Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority will present the millage proposal to the Marquette County Board of Commissioners at Tuesday’s board meeting. The board must support the request for the millage to appear on the August ballot.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in room 231 of the Henry A. Skewis Courthouse Annex along West Baraga Avenue in Marquette.

Prior to bringing the request to the board, the Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority Board of Trustees passed a proposed draft resolution supporting the county-wide millage request at a special meeting March 27.

“If approved, the millage will allow the authority to move to a single-stream recycling program, which will include the accepting and on-site processing of glass,” a letter from authority board Chairman Randy Yelle states. “We believe a single-stream recycling program is necessary to significantly increase the rate of recycling in Marquette County and thereby extend the life of the landfill.”

The proposed millage would levy 0.1 mill, or 10 cents per $1,000 of taxable value, on taxable real and tangible personal property within Marquette County for a period of 10 years from 2019 to 2029. It is estimated to generate around $300,000 the first year. A household with $150,000 of taxable real and tangible personal property would pay $15 a year if the millage is approved.

The move to single-stream recycling is estimated to cost around $5.9 million. The authority has worked to secure the funding through a variety of sources, but the proposed millage is a critical piece of the funding, officials said.

“With other funding in place, grants, donations and Closed Loop Funding providing a no-interest loan, this millage is the final step to making the single-stream program, including local recycling of glass, a reality,” Yelle’s letter states.

The authority oversees the Marquette County Landfill, which serves residents of constituent municipalities in the county. It does not currently recycle glass and uses a dual-stream recycling system that requires rigid and fiber materials to be separated and picked up on alternating weeks.

The proposed single-stream system would allow both material types to be picked up weekly, as well as glass, officials said previously.

If the millage is approved by the board and voters, the letter states, “it is expected that there will be no tipping fee for Marquette County recycling and a $25 per ton for any recycling allowed from out of the county,” as single-stream and glass recycling could allow the authority to increase its volume by attracting recycling materials from the entire Upper Peninsula, as well as commercial single-stream recycling.

Furthermore, single-stream and glass recycling could increase recycling participation in Marquette County, Yelle said previously, as only 8 percent of the county currently recycles, but over half of those surveyed indicated they would support the millage and begin recycling if it became a single-stream system.

The transition, if supported, could take place in the near future, Yelle told the Journal previously.

“The glass may come into effect sooner than the single stream,” he said. “We expect we’d be taking glass no later than 2020. Single stream, probably by 2021.”

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.