City may recharge funds for battery recycling program funding

URBANA – The city council may appropriate more funding to its battery recycling program for at least a year when it meets next week.

The council will meet on Monday at 7 p.m. in the City Building, 400 S. Vine St., to decide whether to give an extra $3,000 to the program that a city official said has become more popular.

The recycling program, which began in November 2007, saw a 45 percent increase in Champaign-Urbana locals recycling batteries in 2009. The program recycled 7,000 pounds of the hazardous waste last year, said environmental manager Rod Flecther.

The recycling program is budgeted to receive $10,000 next year, but Fletcher said an extra $3,000 is necessary to manage the increased volume.

While that amount will be added to the city's budget only for next year, Fletcher said he expects the increasing popularity of the program to continue.

"As we start collecting more materials, we certainly will pay more cost," Fletcher said. "We don't have a threshold."

The city spends about $1 per pound to send the batteries to Battery Solutions Inc., the Minnesota company that takes the cells.

But Fletcher said the recycling program creates long-term savings for Urbana.

"Certainly from a sustainability point of view, it is a program really set up to reduce the need for raw material production," Fletcher said. "Recycling materials are contained in the batteries, and preserving our environment in a smart manner."

The city council on Monday also will receive a report on the civilian police review board, a group formed in 2007 to investigation citizen complaints against police department employees.

According to city documents, the board has reviewed 16 complaints since July 2008. Three of those complaints resulted in the board ordering corrective action. One complaint, filed Feb. 1, is still open.

Urbana Human Relations Officer Todd Rent on Friday did not return a phone message seeking comment.

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