The Carbon County commissioners are moving forward on closing out the blue bin recycling program.
During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board voted 2-0 to advertise the sale of all Haul All Hyd-A-Way six-cubic yard containers from the recycling program. Commissioner William O'Gurek was in favor of the vote, but abstained due to a conflict of interest due to his other employment with the TIMES NEWS.
Commissioner Wayne Nothstein, chairman, explained that this action is helping the county with completing the closing of the recycling program that was operated by Carbon County. Half of the blue bins have been removed from various municipalities, while the remaining half have been sealed off so no more recycling could be placed in the bins.
He noted that many of the bins still on-site will remain there until bids are received because the cost to remove them and find a storage location was costing the county more than the bins are worth.
Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard added that he was happy with the progress of the removal of the bins to date and noted that he hopes municipalities will bid on some of the bins. If a municipality purchases bins, then it would be their responsibility to remove them from the site.
Nothstein explained that the county's hope is to have this closed out by the end of the month.
A number of municipalities that were affected by the closing of the program have been in discussions with outside companies to continue a recycling program.
In a related matter, the board voted to apply for a 903 recycling grant in the amount of $32,488.48, requesting 50 percent reimbursement for the 2012 salary and eligible expenses for the county recycling coordinator.
In other matters, Nothstein cautioned everyone about burning in the current dry conditions.
He said that the county has not and does not really want to issue a countywide burn ban because officials feel they should allow municipalities to make that decision.
Nothstein added that if someone does start a fire and it gets out of control and requires fire department and forestry services, they will get billed for the equipment used to fight the fire, and be fined.
Area resident Yury Bers of Albrightsville also approached the board to discuss the increase in taxes.
He said that his county property taxes increased by 50 percent and he was concerned because he lives on Social Security and his pensions, and asked why they jumped significantly.
He added that he feels the commissioners should have taken into consideration that Carbon County is comprised of 10 percent senior citizens.
Nothstein responded, thanking him for taking an interest in the county.
"I appreciate what you are saying," he said. "I do not like having to raise taxes, but we all pay them. It's a sign of the times and I'm afraid things are not going to get better."
He addressed one problem that Bers talked about the unemployment rate in the county saying that "yes it is high, unfortunately some of those people out there are too damn lazy to work. Not everyone though. This country makes it too easy for people to collect unemployment benefits."
Nothstein said that there are businesses in the county looking for people to work and are having a hard time finding people who want to work in these positions.
He also talked about the budget, saying that they are trying to cut where they can to not have to continue to raise taxes; as well as make up for state and federal cutbacks that are causing hardships on making ends meet in mandated programs.