Hillman mulls recycling millage

HILLMAN — A new property tax is among the options Village of Hillman officials could consider to continue to fund recycling services.

Village President Myron McIntire said council is debating whether it wants to even approach the idea of taxation. The council discussed the topic briefly on Tuesday. No specific amount was agreed upon.

The village recently had to change its recycling service from Greenway to Alpena Resource and Recovery, after Greenway discontinued its recycling services last fall.

Village officials were able to continue the recycling program for its residents through Alpena Resource and Recovery, but costs for the program increased.

McIntire said it currently costs $500 a month for Alpena Resource and Recovery to provide the recycling service. The costs are currently split between the village and Hillman Township, who also participates in the recycling service, with each entity paying $250 per month.

“It’s going to average around $6,000 and $8,000 a year to continue,” he said, adding an additional “unknown cost” will also have to be paid for Alpena Resource and Recovery to haul everything that can’t be recycled “up to the dump.”

The village’s annual budget is just over $300,000.

Village Manager Dave Post expressed his concern that, if Hillman Township decided to opt out of the recycling program, the village would end up paying for the increase.

McIntire said usage of the recycling service has increased since it first started and that they’re averaging “a good load” every week. And, while McIntire sees value in the program, he expressed his frustration the village is also paying for the recycling that gets dropped off from Montmorency County residents who don’t live in the village or township.

“We’re the only recycling around,” he said. “There’s no other recycling in Montmorency County.”

McIntire previously approached the Montmorency County Board of Commissioners to see if they might be able to help.

County Commissioner Bert LaFleche said Montmorency County had tried recycling, but the program was discontinued.

“We had done it for several years and we lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. We just couldn’t afford it,” he said.

McIntire told council he planned to approach the board again on behalf of the village.

Council members tabled discussion about the recycling program to a future meeting.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.