The fate of Carbon County's recycling program is a little unclear.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board voted to transfer $20,000 from the general fund to the Carbon County Department of Solid Waste's fund to cover bills and other expenses.

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, said that the transfer is because grants that the department used to receive have gone away and enough money is not coming in to cover all the expenses.

Robert Crampsie, county controller, added that the money is considered a loan that needs to be repaid because it is over the initial operating fund transfer the department received this year.

O'Gurek added that this is the second year the Department of Solid Waste has been operating in the red.

"We ran a deficit last year and the commissioners decided to continue the program to see what 2011 would hold," O'Gurek said. "Obviously a loan to them at this point is not good news. It's a program that is costing us money and a concern to us is the equipment. The trucks have a quarter of a million miles on them and are always needing repairs."

He said that the recycling program will be discussed by the board during the preparation of the 2012 budget, which the commissioners have said, will be a tough one due to the cutbacks of state and federal monies into the county. These cutbacks have forced the county to find new ways to cover expenses and programs.

"We will address it," O'Gurek said, "but this is a program at risk, in my opinion. We will have to look and determine if we should still be in the recycling business."

Neither Commissioners Charles Getz nor Wayne Nothstein spoke about their opinion on the program's fate.

The county Department of Solid Waste's budgets have been rocky over the last few years, as more and more state and federal funding was cut for recycling programs.

At one time, $324,000 of the department's budget was covered by grants, $217,000 came from fees that the department collects, and the remaining $15,000 was covered by the county. Those totals have now shifted.

The program not only covers recycling in the county. It also hosts education programs and activities in schools, conducts electronic recycling events, and hosts the annual Outdated Telephone Directory Recycling Program.