Lee’s Summit residents soon will regain access to a drop-off recycling center near Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport more than a year after the facility was shuttered.
The City Council voted 6-1 on Oct. 5 to reopen the center as part of a cooperative agreement with Kansas City. The location has been closed since February 2016 when Lee’s Summit privatized its landfill and the company taking over trash disposal chose not to offer recycling services.
City Manager Stephen Arbo estimated the center at 1951 NE Douglas Road would formally begin operation early next year.
Under the agreement, the center will be open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and be free to users.
Lee’s Summit will be responsible for providing an attendant to oversee and maintain the center at a cost of around $34,000 a year. The city also will provide seven roll-off recycling containers, although a local company has agreed to let the city use the containers at no cost.
City officials will also need to spend a little more than $31,000 in one-time expenses, including installing signs and building a fence around the site to keep out animals that could interfere with the municipal airport.
The recycling center formerly was subsidized by landfill revenue, which the city no longer receives, so the one-time costs will be paid from the city’s budget reserve.
Councilman Dave Mosby objected to using what he called the city’s emergency fund and unsuccessfully tried to have all of the recycling center’s costs come from the regular budget. He ultimately voted against the agreement and said the city had more important issues to deal with.
“In a time when we have real problems with our salary administration, this money could fund increases for people that need it, and we’re spending this on a ‘want,’” Mosby said. “It’s a political fun thing, a political nice thing to do, but it’s not necessary as a city to be doing.”
His proposal failed after staff said they would need to delay approval of the project while they fit those costs into the current budget.
Kansas City’s role will be to pick up, empty and return the roll-off containers when they are full. Lee’s Summit will not pay for that service but allow Kansas City to keep any revenue it generates from sales of the material.
City staff have said reopening the site would benefit nearby residents in both cities and address the many calls they receive each week from residents asking about recycling.
The deal does not affect the city’s former drop-off recycling location at the landfill, which will remain closed.
In other business, the council voted 6-1 to approve tax incentives for renovating the Pine Tree Plaza shopping center at Blue Parkway and Jefferson Street. The city this summer created a community improvement district covering the shopping center.
Within that district, the city will impose a special 1 percent sales tax that will help offset up to $2.4 million in allowable redevelopment expenses.
The shopping center’s owner, Northern State Investments LLC, estimated the project will cost more than $9 million. Pine Tree Plaza has been in decline since its largest tenant, Price Chopper, closed, and the center is only about a third filled.
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