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Recycling firm proposes deal with city


The city's collection of scrap wood is growing, and Raffelson Rock and Recycling proposed a possible solution that might save Sidney some time and money.

B.J. Raffelson of Raffelson Rock and Recycling spoke with the city council on Tuesday about leasing some land from the city and the possibility of working with Sidney to ease problems with scrap wood.

"I know the recycling machine Sidney had burnt down this summer," Raffelson said. "And I thought this would be a great time to maybe start taking over the services for the city and start doing all the trees, the pallets and stuff like that for mulch and other purposes."

The city's tub grinder, which it uses to grind down wood into mulch was burnt out in a fire, and it hasn't yet been replaced. The estimated cost of a new grinder would be around $300,000. The city's insurance paid a claim of around $90,000 on the old grinder. Raffelson suggested that if he took over these services, it would ease the city's financial burden.

Raffelson proposed leasing ground from the city adjacent to the old landfill.

"I feel like this is a great location that people know," Raffelson said. "They can drop off their trees, we can grind up the wood and the mulch and have it for resale at that location."

Raffelson said he wouldn't charge citizens to drop off wood and would be able to create cheaper mulch than currently available in the area.

He brings in mulch from the front range as do most landscapers, he claimed. This raises cost because of trucking expenses. This way he can take care of wood that people are burning and pallets that pile up, and also make a profit.

"I feel like this would be a good time to try to recycle this stuff and put it back into our community at a lower cost," Raffelson said.

Mayor Wendall Gaston pointed out that the city primarily used its grinder to provide mulch for city parks.

Raffelson suggested that the city might possibly allow him to use the property in return for mulch.

"I think it's an interesting concept," said city councilman Mark Nienhueser. "I think the devil's in the details as to whether we can make it work out. It would help us avoid buying the machine."

City manager Gary Person suggested that many details needed to be worked out before this plan was a possibility.

"I just feel if we did this, it would save you guys time and money," Raffelson said.


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