LARNED — When Jim Johnson talked with the Larned City Council recently about the city’s recycling service, he reported that more businesses had become involved and that 37,000 pounds of materials were collected during the first month of operation.
Johnson, Sunflower Diversified Services executive director, wanted to make the presentation after he learned some residents were not aware of Sunflower’s new role in the city’s recycling efforts.
Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults with developmental disabilities and delays in central Kansas.
“We sent out a news release that was published in the Tiller & Toiler on May 13,” Johnson said. “The article also was printed in area publications and on websites before the June 1 change. But I thought I should follow-up with city leaders to answer any questions they have heard from their constituents.”
There is only one big change that is apparent to the public. Recycling is now a self-serve operation.
Prior to the non-profit agency stepping in, a city employee had been available at the building on U.S. 56 to help carry materials.
“This was a decision that the city council made to reduce operating costs,” Johnson said. “Those of us at Sunflower completely understand the importance of being good stewards of tax money and we are excited to expand our recycling operation in Larned.
“This change in procedure is in the taxpayers’ best interest, and equally important, more people at Sunflower now have job opportunities,” Johnson added. “That is one of our priorities here and we are grateful to the city of Larned for allowing us this opportunity.”
Larned Mayor William Nusser noted that the city spent about nine months discussing this issue.
“We were initially approached by Jim Johnson and a Sunflower board member,” Nusser said. “They asked if the city would be willing to step away from its recycling operation and consider Sunflower’s services.”
The result is the city will save between $30,000 and $40,000 a year in the Sanitation Department.
“I fully support the council’s decision to contract with Sunflower for our recycling services,” Nusser commented. “This is a contributing factor in greater fiscal responsibility for our city.
“There will be bumps in the road but we believe through proper communication and cooperation, we can provide a more efficient recycling program for the citizens of Larned and Pawnee County,” the mayor added.
Nusser also noted that Sunflower was a good choice because the agency provides this same service for several other communities. These include Rozel, Burdett, Claflin, Ellinwood and Rush County.
“In addition,” Nusser said, “local leaders serve on Sunflower’s board. They have a vested interest in the future of Larned and we are glad to be partners with them.”
For more information about the Larned recycling operation, contact Sarah Krom by calling 620-792-1321.
Sunflower’s service area includes Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. It is in its 50th year.