Barring anything unexpected, East Peoria will bring back recycling this year.
The council plans to include the funding to restore the popular service in its upcoming $113 million 2021-22 annual budget. The service was trashed as a cost-cutting measure last year, as the COVID pandemic took a bite out of revenues.
"It was never the intention not to recycle, or stop people from recycling. It was the intention to live through the year. Take what we didn't know about COVID, and take ourselves through to the next year, said East Peoria Commissioner Dan Decker.
Mayor John Kahl said unpopular decisions had to be made to keep the city's financial house in order as the COVID-19 pandemic set in.
"In this city, while we recognized a more than $4 million shortfall to date, we've managed to live within the budget. So although there was a shortfall, we budgeted for that," Kahl said. "And there was some painful cuts involved."
Decker said he expects recycling service restoration around May 3.
Kahl estimates the annual cost will be around $329,000, once the costs of bringing a recycling truck and employee back online are added to the estimated tipping and processing fees for materials.
The mayor said more education about which materials are, or aren't, recyclable will be part of the service's restoration. He said the city ends up paying more when people try to recycle items which can't be processed. Those items must be manually sorted out of the other materials at the recycling center, costing time and money.
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