IRC not happy with Tyrone’s plan

Municipality seeks to withdraw from group to save on assessment fee

The Intermunicipal Relations Committee that oversees curbside recycling in the four Blair County municipalities mandated to do it aren’t going to let one of their own throw away its membership without objection.

On Tuesday, at the first meeting of the IRC since last week’s decision by Tyrone to start procedures for withdrawing from the group, representatives from Altoona, Logan Township and Hollidaysburg went into executive session to discuss potential litigation connected with that withdrawal plan.

Both sides will need to decide whether litigation is the way to go, said IRC solicitor Larry Clapper before the executive session began.

But it would be best if it never came to that, he said.

There is a protocol in the founding documents of the organization, which began around 1990, for withdrawal, according to Clapper.

But it hardly makes sense for Tyrone to leave, given that no elected representative from the borough has attended an IRC meeting since late 2016, said Jim Patterson, a Logan Township supervisor.

“How do they know what’s going on?” Patterson asked rhetorically. “We’re a little confused.”

Tyrone Borough Manager Ardean Latchford proposed withdrawing to save Tyrone taxpayers the IRC assessment fee, which is $55,000 for this year. It was $25,000 last year and nothing during the previous history of the group.

The borough already covers its regular curbside recycling obligation with a single-hauler contract and can handle its composting obligation with actions that include opening a compost facility in Reservoir Park, Latchford said.

But if Tyrone wants to receive grants of more than $10,000 to help pay for its proposed new independent program, it would need to do more than that, said IRC Executive Director John Frederick.

Those obligations include facilitating a commercial recycling program, operating an education program for residential and business recycling, facilitating a program for recycling of special materials, enforcing compliance with recycling requirements, dealing with illegal dumps and littering and collection of recycling data, according to Frederick.

The first responsibility of municipal officials is to their municipality’s taxpayers, so “from that perspective, I understand” Tyrone’s actions, said Erik Cagle, IRC chairman and City Council member.

But a newspaper story about Tyrone’s effort was the first time the other municipalities even knew about the plan to leave, officials said.

“(So) it stings a little that they walked away without conversation,” Cagle said.

Could Tyrone’s withdrawal lead to dissolution of the organization?

“I hope not,” Cagle said.

Clapper’s firm, Goldstein, Heslop, Steele, Clapper et al, represents both Tyrone Borough and the IRC, and so will need to recuse itself from litigation if there is court action from either side, Clapper said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.

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