Several vehicles pull into the Grain Valley Recycling Center within five minutes late Friday afternoon.

Several vehicles pull into the Grain Valley Recycling Center within five minutes late Friday afternoon.

It is unknown exactly how many of those contributing to the community recycling center are actually Grain Valley residents. They are just doing their part to reduce, reuse and recycle.

On Monday night, the Grain Valley Board of Aldermen had a first reading of an ordinance that would limit use of the recycling center to Grain Valley residents and businesses. According to the proposed ordinance, non-residents or businesses not located within city limits would not be permitted to use the recycling center for any reason.

“All persons deviating from these rules may be charged and ticketed accordingly,” according to the proposed ordinance.

The board approved the first reading and agreed to a second reading of the proposed ordinance, 5-1, with Terry Beebe opposing.

“I don’t like it,” said Beebe, Ward 1 alderman. “I don’t know that I really think we need to be fining people just because they’re coming from another area.”

The purpose of the proposed ordinance is to reduce the costs associated with the center, according to a city staff report. The report also states that restrictions will be placed to ensure proper use of residents’ taxpayer dollars.

Mary Gillespie and Ethan Adkins, eighth-grade students at Grain Valley Middle School, both spoke in opposition of the proposed ordinance.

Gillespie, who uses the recycling center, said her school encourages its students to recycle paper and plastic bottles.

“I think that if we are allowed to recycle at school then we should be allowed to recycle at the recycling bins,” she said. “If this passed and you’re caught recycling and you’re not a Grain Valley resident, you’d get a fine. Apparently, they fine for saving the environment.”

Adkins said he resides north of Grain Valley city limits.

“Where else can it be convenient for us to recycle?” Adkins said. “Our school encourages recycling, so if we can’t, where else are we supposed to go?

Mayor David Halphin said that both Gillespie and Adkins made strong points. However, Halphin said larger bins at the recycling center have increased the city’s expenses to $50,000 each year.

“Do we take recycling away all together, or do we limit it to the people who are in the community that are paying for it?” Halphin said. “We didn’t want to eliminate it all together. We’ve got some other ideas of things we can do, but for the first one, let’s maybe restrict the people who can recycle.”

Halphin said Blue Springs and Oak Grove residents often utilize the recycling center because their communities don’t have a recycling facility. He said Grain Valley does not receive payment for its recycling facility. 

City Administrator Gary Bradley said he has contacted the cities of Blue Springs and Oak Grove about obtaining recycling facilities. He said Blue Springs is in the process of developing a recycling facility similar to Grain Valley’s center. Oak Grove has indicated interest in a recycling facility, but right now, it is not the city’s top priority because of other projects, Bradley said.

“I did let both of those communities know what we had on the agenda and what we were talking about just as a courtesy to inform the mayors,” Bradley said.

A sign now exists on the recycling bins that reads “recycling area under surveillance.” Gillespie asked the board how it plans to enforce the ordinance.

“At this point, it would be with a sign – putting a sign out saying that if you’re not a Grain Valley resident or a Grain Valley business that you will be prohibited from recycling at that center,” Halphin said.

A city staff report also states that increase usage and illegal dumping has taken place at the recycling center, located at 711 S. Main St. The recycling center accepts tin and aluminum cans, plastic bottles, cardboard, thickened cardboard and paperboard.

The board will address the proposed ordinance at its next meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at City Hall, 711 Main St.

“We’re just looking at different alternatives,” Halphin said. “We can’t keep spending that kind of money for recycling, though it is a good thing and we recognize that.”