Carbon County commissioners are trying to find solutions to help municipalities affected by the closure of the blue bin recycling program.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard said that after receiving numerous phone calls, letters and complaints from residents regarding the board's decision to eliminate the program in 14 municipalities, he began to do some research about possible options that could help the municipalities. The commissioners voted 2-0 on Feb. 28, to end the program due to it costing the county over $100,000 and receiving little help from the state or federal governments.

Gerhard noted that through discussions with Commissioner William O'Gurek, who was absent at the Feb. 28 meeting, O'Gurek would have also voted in favor of ending the program.

He contacted Mike Walborn of Kreitzer Sanitation, Orwigsburg, regarding options to a recycling program through the company.

Gerhard noted that Walborn said he deals with recycling programs with several municipalities and school districts and that he would be able to help.

Walborn has been invited to a special meeting of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee, which is slated for 11 a.m., April 10, at the Carbon County Emergency Management Agency. At that time, he will provide information to the affected municipalities on the recycling program he offers for their consideration.

Gerhard said that Kreitzer Sanitation can offer 30- and 40-yard roll-off single stream recycling containers to municipalities.

He noted that this would be at no cost to the county, but may be an option for municipalities who would like to consider continuing recycling.

He also encouraged all municipalities to attend the upcoming meeting.

O'Gurek added that he believes the county is trying to help municipalities find solutions to the recycling issues by bringing in Kreitzer Sanitation to make a proposal.

Commissioner Wayne Nothstein, chairman, provided an update on the removal of the blue bins from the municipalities.

To date, 11 bins have been removed from the Kidder Township site and 16 bins in Penn Forest Township have been loaded onto trailer beds but are currently stuck there due to muddy conditions at the site. The county is contracting with Forest Inn Masonry to help with the removal of the bins.

He also noted that two pickup truck loads of garbage were taken out of the Kidder Township site.

"This is some of the issues (illegal dumping of trash) and costs that were associated with the program since day one," Nothstein said.

He added that so far a number of municipalities affected are beginning to look at options to continue recycling.

The county will continue to work to remove the bins; as well as pack up the Department of Solid Waste office in Bowmanstown, which will be vacated at the end of the month.

In other matters, Bob Schaninger, a resident of Jim Thorpe, had more parking lot questions for the county.

He asked what the reason was for raising the price of parking in the county lot.

Nothstein echoed his answer from last week when Barb Timberz asked about the fees, saying that it is because the cost of operating the lot contributed to, doing renovations to the restrooms at the train station, maintenance of the lot, and an upcoming project in paving and possibly extending the lot.

Schaninger then asked about the spots that are available for rent.

Gerhard said there are five spaces available in the upper lot for a fee. For five days it is $25 and for seven days it is $30.

He also asked about the sidewalk from the 903 bridge down into town.

He said that there are cinders on the sidewalk, which creates a potential hazard for pedestrians.

The county commissioners said there are currently some issues about whose responsibility it is, but they will discuss the matter further.

In related parking issues, Gerhard updated the board on Timberz complaint last week regarding bagged meters along Broadway in Jim Thorpe that were for area and state legislators.

Gerhard said he spoke with Mayor Michael Sofranko, who indicated that the meters were bagged because they were reserved and paid for by the people attending the most recent mayors' meeting, which discussed state and federal funding grants available to Carbon.

He noted that Sofranko said the money from the reservation was given to the borough of Jim Thorpe, which owns those meters.