Prairie Village could be the next Kansas City-area municipality to see the return of curbside glass recycling.
A representative of Deffenbaugh Industries on Monday told the City Council that the company plans to begin a pilot project in October collecting glass curbside for roughly 200 homes in the Prairie Village neighborhoods of Normandy Square and Corinth Hills. Based on the results, the company would roll out curbside glass recycling citywide beginning next year.
“We kicked around the idea, and we think now’s the time,” said John Blessing, a public sector representative for the company, which handles residential trash collection and other types of recycling for the city.
Blessing said the pilot would not cost residents or the city anything. Deffenbaugh’s contract with Prairie Village expires next year, so time will tell if the expanded recycling service would find its way to homeowners’ trash bills.
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Curbside glass recycling disappeared for most area residents in the early 2000s. A handful of small companies have popped up in recent years to collect glass on a subscription basis, including Atlas Glass, KC Curbside Glass and GlassBandit. GlassBandit participated in a pilot project of its own this spring with the 82 households of Mission Woods.
Deffenbaugh already does brisk business recycling glass in the Kansas City area, partnering with Ripple Glass of Kansas City, whose purple recycling bins are a common site in parking lots across the metro. Blessing said Ripple has told Deffenbaugh it needs more recycled glass to sell to its customers, namely fiberglass insulation makers.
“We hope to see on both sides of the state line glass recycling becoming very easy and abundant for everyone,” he said.
Blessing added that the demand for glass has been helpful as falling petroleum prices have actually hurt demand for recycled plastic, which he said is the second largest recycled material behind paper. Manufacturers have said it’s cheaper to use virgin plastic rather than incorporate recycled plastic into their supply chain, Blessing said.
In other business, the City Council peppered the group planning to redevelop the Meadowbrook Golf and Country Club with questions and lingering concerns for how the project will be financed.
The city and VanTrust Real Estate are scheduled this week to begin negotiating a development agreement that would set out how work on the 137-acre property, bordered by 91st and 95th streets and Nall and Roe avenues, would proceed.
Currently, VanTrust plans to develop 41 acres of the property for a senior living complex and a range of residential development. The city would buy the remaining land and turn it over to the Johnson County Park and Recreation District for a park.
The park property is appraised at $7.8 million although VanTrust President David M. Harrison told the council the company would ask for less than that. While he acknowledged that VanTrust bought the entire 137 acres in 2010 for $4.5 million, he said the company has obligations and improvements totaling $9 million to maintain the property as a country club.
“We’re not trying to make money off of our partner,” Harrison said.
To pay for the park land and improvements, the city would sell up to $9.5 million in general obligation bonds and up to $7 million in special obligation bonds through a Tax Increment Financing district. The city would use additional property tax generated by the developed sections of the property to pay off the bonds. City taxpayers would be responsible for paying the general obligation bonds if the development doesn’t generate enough new revenue, while the developers would buy the special obligation bonds and risk losing their money if the project under performs.
A memorandum of understanding that the city approved earlier this month says the two sides will evenly split all additional property tax to pay off their respective bonds. Some council members have objected to that, noting that city taxpayers are on the hook for 60 percent of the total amount of bonds and should get 60 percent of the money to pay them off.
Harrison and the city’s own financial adviser, Jeff White, explained that because the city would likely sell the general obligation bonds that it’s responsible for at a much lower interest rate than for the special obligation bonds, it would conceivably pay off the principal faster than on the special obligation bonds.
Harrison added that assuming everything goes to plan, the development could begin generating additional taxes to pay off the bonds as early as the summer of 2017.
“I just want you to know that a good portion of the passion that we have about this project is because this is our community,” he said.
The city also announced on Monday that it has added a section of its website answering some of the most frequently asked questions about the Meadowbrook project. Visit pvkansas.com/city-government/projects/meadowbrook-redevelopment for more information.