Study will look into proposed county recycling center

Should Warren County have a recycling center?

That’s the question at the center of a proposal for Nestor Resources, a consulting firm in Valencia, Pa., to conduct a study for the potential development of a proposed Warren County Recycling Center.

The goal, according to the proposal presented to the Warren County commissioners, is to evaluate how much recycling material could potentially be collected, what types, where the majority of it is in the county, and projected changes in recycling patters in the future.

The study hopes to gain insight into methods of delivering recyclables to a proposed countywide recycling center that would be most cost-effective, how to make such a center profitable and compatible with Warren’s recycling needs, potential relationships with neighboring counties to share resources and increase the amount of recycling processed at such a center, and, most importantly, how much such a center would cost.

According to the proposal, “based on prior experience… Nestor Resources anticipates a total of four board meetings,” which will coincide with significant project benchmarks, including: analysis of strengths and weaknesses of Warren’s current recycling program, an analysis of market conditions and regulatory influences, a cost benefit analysis of alternatives for operation of facilities and/or organizational structure, and finalization of the project after review and feedback.”

Based on experience with similar projects, Nestor Resources has estimated a total cost for the study, based on projected 2017 through 2019 standard hourly rates of $115, at $48,683. Two options for the county to pay that total are proposed. The first is a cash match, with a PADEP 901 planning grant covering 80 percent of the consultant total fees and expenses with cash reimbursement to the county of $38,946 and the county paying $20 percent — a total of $9,737.

The second option, a “soft match” option, brings the total cost of the study to $58,420 with cash reimbursement to the county of $46,736 and the county match fulfilled through the equivalent value of salaries, benefits, and in-kind services. This option, according to Commissioner Jeff Eggleston, allows for time put into the project by himself and County Planning and Zoning Director Dan Glotz, the county solicitor’s time in legal review and development of policy documents, and the commissioners’ collective time at public meetings to discuss the project. The soft match option allows the county to avoid a direct cash contribution.

“There are pros and cons to each,” said Eggleston. “Obviously, the second option involves a great deal of work for the county, but avoids any direct cash contribution.

“The reason the second payment option seems larger,” Eggleston said, “is because the consultant is going to have mostly fixed costs and is going to get paid either way. By utilizing in-kind donations from the county, we essentially expand the matching funds for the consultant.”

While the soft match is a bit more work for the county, Eggleston said, “to be fair, most of that work we are going to have to do anyway, so why not track it and reduce the county’s cash liability.”