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By Mark Davey
The not-for-profit firm which runs recycling in Kintyre will continue until April 2019.
At a recent council meeting, from which the public and press were excluded, apparently due to the sensitive nature of finance discussed, councillors voted to extend a £32,000 ‘lifeline’ to Kintyre Recycling Ltd (KRL).
That funding, which is in addition to its annual grant of £160,000 and a top-up of £18,000, agreed earlier this year, will see the charitable firm through to April next year.
KRL’s existing five year contract for council funding of £160,000 per annum was agreed in 2015, before the move to three weekly bin collections, which caused a huge rise in recycling.
A source, who preferred not to be named, stated that a council officer has said the service KRL provides could be provided more cheaply by the council but has never given projected figures.
On Tuesday KRL director Malcolm McMillan added: ‘Argyll and Bute Council has not given any figures and nobody from the council has shown the details of how they could do recycling in Kintyre more cheaply, yet.’
A council spokesperson said: ‘Changes in the recycling market are bringing change for businesses like KRL.
‘We want to give KRL every chance we can to adapt.
‘Despite strains on its finances, the council agreed additional funding of up to £32,000 to take KRL to April next year.
‘A report, setting out the financial details of recycling collection in Kintyre longer term, will go to the council in the new year, as part of the budget-setting process.’
A similar situation occurred on Islay where ReJig ran recycling.
ReJig’s Ina Glover told the Courier: ‘ReJIG’s Service Level Agreement (SLA) was cut in 2013 from £45k to £16k.
‘Since that year we were subsidising the council’s recycling operation on Islay from the sale of donated goods.
‘We met the council on numerous occasions to get the SLA restored to its full cost recovery level, to no avail.
‘We finally served the council notice in January 2018 and they still stated that they could replace ReJIG in budget.
‘The head of roads and amenities, Jim Smith, repeatedly told us there was no more money available.
‘They allowed us to fold our recycling, resulting in two job loses.
‘The council ‘appointed’ a private contractor at an annual cost of £55k versus the £16k they were paying us.
‘The private contractor has repeatedly fallen behind with the work resulting in mountains of recycling being shipped off Islay in 20 tonne bulkers at the cost of £1500 per load.
‘The council has been frugal with the truth to Councillor Horn about the real cost of its current operation on Islay.’
Councillor Anne Horn told the Courier: ‘I submitted a question asking if the new service on Islay had come in under budget or cost neutral.
‘After a fairly lengthy wait for a reply from an officer I was advised that the Islay service has been more expensive for the Council to run.’