Hardy clarifies ‘no’ vote

Published 11:53 am Thursday, January 21, 2010

AHOSKIE – An Ahoskie Town Councilman does support a state recycling grant that town officials will attempt to secure; his biggest concern is an uncertain future of that program.

As reported in Tuesday’s edition (“Recycling upgrade approved”), despite objection from Councilman Winfred Hardy, town officials will proceed with an upgrade to an existing recycling program.

A motion was approved for Ahoskie to participate in the Recycle Roll-Out Cart Grant Program, one administered by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

While there are no costs incurred by the town or its residents during the initial three years of the grant program, Hardy, newly seated on the Council, cast the lone “no” vote in the measure that was approved by a 4-1 count.

Tuesday’s article quoted Hardy’s reasoning behind voting against the measure….“I didn’t want to see three years from now that the law has changed and we have to have this (program),” he said.

Late Tuesday morning, Hardy stopped by the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald office, saying he wanted to make further comment concerning his position on this issue.

“I don’t want the citizens to think I am against a grant that will give us a service for free,” Hardy stated. “I’m for that.”

He continued, “What I am concerned about is three years from now; they say you’ve used it three years for free and now with the price of everything steady going up, we’ve now got to charge you $5 a month for this (service).”

Hardy said it was the possibility of a future service fee, one paid for by the town’s citizens, that led to his decision to vote against the measure.

“The people have enough on them as it is,” Hardy concluded. “They don’t need anything else. Some are having problems right now having to pay these high water bills. I don’t want to see anything else added on them.”

If Ahoskie receives the grant, each residence currently supplied with a GDS garbage cart will receive a 65-gallon roll-out cart in which to place their recyclables. Residents, now using a smaller, hand-held tub to place their recyclables, will roll these new carts out to the curb once a week for GDS crews to collect.

The idea of a roll-out cart was welcomed by Town Councilman Malcolm Copeland.

“Some of our residents cannot physically lift those recycling containers now in use,” Copeland said during the Council’s Jan. 12 meeting. “These roll-out carts will help.”

“These carts make it more convenient for our residents to take their recycled items to the curb and I feel that it will help promote an effort to recycle,” added Town Manager Tony Hammond during the meeting.

Hammond told council members on Jan. 12 that there are no costs incurred by the town to operate the program during the three-year life of the grant.

“At the end of those three years, it’s up to you (council) if you want to continue the program,” Hammond said.