Recycling program gets Jeannette in more trouble
The City of Jeannette faces another big bill it can't afford to pay, thanks to its dysfunctional recycling program.
The city may have to repay part of a $235,000 state grant from the Department of Environmental Protection for purchasing recycling equipment and constructing a processing center that “is barely being used,” a department spokesman said.
John Poister said state officials last week discovered the city is not using a baler, compactor, truck or a building that were paid for by the grant. The baler is used for bundling newspapers, and the compactor crushes cans.
“They wouldn't have to pay it all back,” he said. “It would have to be prorated. They said, ‘We want to sell those,' but because they're grant-funded, you have to repay the grant.”
The city is trying to raise cash to pay last year's $414,000 contribution to the police pension fund.
Jeannette officials haven't recovered another $65,000 in state funds from a contractor hired to build a recreation center. That money may have to be returned to the state.
In addition, the city does not have the money to pay more than $235,000 in damages and legal fees to a local businessman who won a lawsuit against the city.
Because of Jeannette's serious financial problems, the state Department of Community and Economic Development is advising city officials how to prevent being declared a financially distressed municipality, subject to state oversight.
“There's no ultimatum being presented here,” Poister said, “but when you accept a grant, you accept the conditions that go with the grant.”
City attorney Scott Avolio said Jeannette “has been working with the DEP regarding the (recycling) program.”
He said council will have to assess what economic impact the failure to utilize the equipment would have on finances and how the city could comply with the grant requirements.
Poister said if the equipment is sold, the city would have to return 90 percent of the proceeds to the DEP.
On Wednesday, council will consider hiring a private company to take over garbage and recycling collections, said city clerk Mike Minyon Jr.
The city inquired whether a private firm would be able to use the processing center built for recycling. Poister said any deal would be subject to state approval, and the company would have to pay rent to use the center.
“No final decisions were made at the meeting, which mainly discussed options,” Poister said. “They just couldn't take over the building. They would have to meet the conditions of the grant. For Jeannette, that could be a deal-breaker.”
If council decides Wednesday to hire a private collection company, members will have to negotiate with Teamsters Local 30, which represents six city sanitation department employees. Under their contract, Jeannette cannot hire a third party without the consent of the union.
Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Corbett rips Wolf tax proposals during Hempfield campaign stop
- Laurel Mountain ski plan needs more information, planners say
- Ligonier Township zoning officer resigns
- Former Penn-Trafford student put on house arrest for drug sales
- One-day lane restrictions set on Route 30 in North Huntingdon
- Ligonier Township wants more info on cell tower proposal
- Rostraver woman, 91, injured in home invasion; 3 sought
- Greensburg driver charged after ATV struck on rail tracks
- Latrobe Municipal Authority appeals DEP order
- Make A Difference Day is Saturday
- Line painting planned in Penn Township