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Town: Back To STEPS

FARMVILLE – Town Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to resume taking all cardboard collected by Town sanitation workers to STEPS for recycling.

The Town will pay STEPS to recycle the cardboard.

The action, taken during Town Council's regular April meeting, reverses last month's decision to accept free recycling from a local business. Town Council made that decision in March, not knowing the negative impact it would have on STEPS.

Learning that it would result in two STEPS workers losing their jobs and a significant loss in income-STEPS re-sells the cardboard-Town Council and Town Manager Gerald Spates made it clear they never would have considered taking the cardboard anywhere else had they known it would hurt STEPS.

Town Council, Spates and STEPS CEO Sharon Harrup discussed the situation at length during last week's Town Council work session, Town officials clearly signaling they would vote this week to return the flow of cardboard to STEPS.

“My personal feeling is that it was not our fault that this happened,” Spates said prior to Wednesday night's vote. “I think it was a miscommunication on the part of STEPS. I wouldn't do anything to hurt the STEPS program and I know council would not, also.

“I would think that in light of what's happened we just go ahead and switch the cardboard back,” he said.

Council member Dr. Edward I. Gordon immediately made a motion to do so and Sally Thompson offered a swift second to the motion.

“It was more than miscommunication. It was not being well-informed,” Dr. Gordon said. “And I think anybody that comes before any (governing) body, or group of people, including Town Council, needs to have some facts that are brought before us. And if we're going to make a consideration then the facts need to be brought forward before us.

“The first time it was brought before us I thought our vote was very good. I thought we considered what we had before us and it was a matter of something being for free or not for free. And when you're looking at our citizens, why should they pay for something when they can get it for free,” he said.

Dr. Gordon said he hoped what had happened “would serve as an example, without the animosity-and hopefully there is no animosity. I feel no animosity toward anybody or anything related to it. It was certainly not the intent of anybody to stir up or create this kind of a problem…I think it just serves to show that we need to be informed to make a decision.

“And I think Mrs. Thompson made it very clear that we are very supportive of STEPS and I think it was said in the media too…We have a long history of supporting STEPS. And we go way out of what we normally do to support STEPS for many different reasons,” he said. “This is why I made the motion today and would have made that same motion had I been well-informed the first time.”

No other council members spoke. (David Whitus and Otto S. Overton were absent).

Other Action

Among other action during Wednesday night's meeting, Town Council:

Adopted a resolution necessary for bond refinancing.

Adopted a resolution authorizing a $1.5 million line of credit with Farmers Bank of Appomattox.

Increased the fees for grave openings at Westview Cemetery, because of increased fuel, equipment and labor costs, from $250 to $400 on weekdays and from $500 to $650 on weekends and holidays.

Received an update from Police Chief Doug Mooney.

Referred to its budget committee a request from the Commonwealth Regional Council for the Town to rejoin the regional planning and economic development organization.

Considered Virginia Municipal League committee nominations for council members.

Approved two refunds of partial payments of the 2012 business license tax.

Approved the operating budget of the Farmville Area Bus.