BOC disbands Solid Waste and Recycling Council

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

BELLAIRE – With a vote of 7-1, the Antrim County Board of Commissioners officially dissolved the county's Solid Waste and Recycling Council last week.

That decision, made during the Commissioners' monthly evening meeting on Thursday, Nov. 21, came after a brief discussion started by Commission Chair Ed Boettcher on the continued value of the seven-member Council in light of the fact that the Antrim Conservation District is managing the county's recycling program, which is now funded through a millage approved by voters in 2018.

Initially, the board discussed suspending the group, which was set up in 2000 to assist the county in acquiring a viable recycling program, but a motion to dissolve the council was made by Commissioner Terry Van Alstine, the Solid Waste and Recycling Council's county liaison.

Commissioner Karen Bargy voted no on the motion while fellow commissioner Jason Helwig did not participate in the vote due to his absence from the meeting.

Bargy did not say publicly why she opposed dissolving the group and could not be reached afterward for comment.

In making his motion, VanAlstine said he believed continuing the group, which was comprised primarily of citizens without county ties, would be redundant.

Commissioner Dawn LaVanway agreed.

LaVanway said that she believed the Council had become ineffective in light of the ACD's management of the recycling program, and that with so many members the group's quarterly meetings cost the county an average of $300 a meeting in per-diem payments.

Contacted after the board’s meeting, Recycling Council Chair Melissa Zelenak said she was disappointed. Zelenak, a former commissioner, also noted that she had been unaware that the county was considering ending the group and that the members of the Council had not been contacted by anyone, including VanAlstine, for their thoughts on the subject.

"It's a shame,” said Zelenak, “and to me, a poor decision which takes away citizen input from our community."

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