While there already are some ways for Phelps County Courthouse employees to recycle, a grant through the Ozarks Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD) may expand those opportunities for workers as well as the public.

While there already are some ways for Phelps County Courthouse employees to recycle, a grant through the Ozarks Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD) may expand those opportunities for workers as well as the public.
Phelps County Commissioners at their Aug. 28 meeting unanimously approved a $6,541 grant application through the district to purchase recycling bins at the courthouse. The grant application asks for no local match from the county.
The application, which was submitted by the deadline Aug. 29, seeks the money to buy 75 small desk-side recycling bins for courthouse employees and four larger bins that would collect paper, plastic bottles and aluminum cans.
The four larger recycling bins would be available for public use. One was requested for each of the courthouse’s four floors.
Brady Wilson, ORSWMD chair and environmental services director for the city of Rolla, worked with District Two Commissioner Gary Hicks on the application. Wilson reviewed the project with county officeholders and department heads at the Aug. 28 meeting.
The larger recycling bins would accept mixed paper, plastic water bottles and aluminum cans. He said these bins are made of 98 percent post-recycled material themselves. The compartment for paper would be larger than the ones for plastic bottles and aluminum cans, Wilson added.
District One Commissioner Larry Stratman said at an earlier commission meeting that the prototypes he was shown by Wilson would be “not very intrusive.” They would be similar to recycling bins at Rolla City Hall, Wilson said.
Stratman said his only concern was finding available space for the small desk-side bins, but Wilson said not every desk may need one.
Wilson said the ultimate goal of buying more recycling bins is to keep waste out of the landfills and save the county money. The city environmental services department already collects cardboard and mixed paper to be recycled from the courthouse.
Wilson said the grant applications are reviewed by the ORSWMD in September, and then the Missouri Department of Natural Resources must approve the requests. If approved, the recycling bins could be added as soon as January 2015.
Wilson said as chair of the district, he would have to abstain from voting on this proposal since he helped prepare the application.
The county annually also requests funds from the ORSWMD for its Tough on Trash program, which helps keeps county roads clean of trash.

In other business
• Also at the commission’s Aug. 28 meeting, county facilities manager Mark Brookshire said the steps to the main entrance of the courthouse will be closed beginng Tuesday for concrete work and make the area compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. People wanting to enter through the main entrance can use the ramps on both sides of the steps, Brookshire said. The work is expected to last through Friday, Sept. 5.
• Chante Alfred, with the Phelps County University of Extension announced that a new horticulture specialist has been hired for the office who will start Sept. 22.
• As a way to help improve a cash flow problem with the county highway department, the commission approved selling three 2011 Caterpillar 140M all-wheel drive motor graders that the county owns  and also seek bids on leasing three current model year motor graders with a minimum of 243 horsepower with back-up cameras and rippers included.
Bids for both will be opened Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 10 a.m.
County Road Superintendent Walter Snelson came up with the idea after his department has not been receiving revenue as expected.
• Also at the meeting, it was noted that bids are being sought for a control access system at the court house that would limit public access to certain entrances.
When such a new system is in place, courthouse employees would be given keycards or remote-entry keyfobs to access various entries at the courthouse.
This would make several entrances to the courthouse accessible to employees only.
The goal eventually would be to limit public access to the main entrance on the northeast side of the building.
The public would still be able to access the health department from its current entrance on the south side of the building, but people could not use that entrance as a pass-through to get to the elevators or prosecutor’s office on the bottom floor.
People who want to visit the prosecutor’s office would have to use the main entrance on the northeast side of the courthouse and take the elevators down a floor. A plan is being worked out for how the public would access the prosecutor’s office during Saturday hours.
Stratman said this may mean a change is needed in where employees park.