Going green is generating green for local communities. Waukesha County sent more money than expected to municipal governments thanks to the second straight year of strong recycling programs in the area.
The city of Brookfield received $244,498, which is $30,000 more than anticipated. Public Works Director Tom Grisa said this money is crucial to the recycling program's existence and is revenue they budget for every year.
"It's not like found money where we say, 'Oh we have a quarter-million dollars to do something new with.' " But that quarter of a million dollars is a significant piece of the $684,000 recycling budget.
The rebate incentive formula is based on the number of tons recycled in each community and the percent of waste recycled. As a result, the more people recycle and conserve, the larger the rebate is for their community.
"Our highly successful recycling program is a cooperative endeavor among communities, the county and the private sector that reduces duplication of services and operates in a cost-effective manner while conserving natural resources, creating jobs and meeting the demand by manufacturers for recycled materials," County Executive Dan Vrakas explained.
"The more people recycle, the more the county, participating municipalities, residents, businesses and our environment benefit."
The program uses state grant funds received on behalf of participating municipalities and revenue from the sale of recyclables to coordinate program education. This revenue-sharing plan also includes revenue from process and market recycled materials at the county recycling facility.
Waukesha County handed out $1.2 million in dividend payments to municipalities, which is intended to help offset their residential recycling collection costs. Last year recycling collection contracts cost participating municipalities more than $3.3 million, meaning these grants are not intended to fully fund any community's recycling program.
The town of Brookfield received $29,051 for its recycling program and Elm Grove was given $42,119. According to Elm Grove Public Works Director Mike Flaherty, his department doesn't receive this money directly.
"When I do my budget, I don't anticipate this," he said, explaining that the money goes into the general fund.
"It's not earmarked for any certain thing."
Essentially, Flaherty said, the money goes into the village's general fund and is spend as is directed by the village. He also added that it can be difficult to estimate how much money the village will get because it's based on both the use that Elm Grove residents and the county as a whole make of the recycling center.
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