Hannibal voters asked to decide on recycling program

Proposition 1 would raise utility bills, but secure a future for the recycling center at the Sheltered Workshop.

"You get what you pay for" is a common thought when you're shopping, but it may also ring true for something else ... at least that's what the hopes are at the Sheltered Workshop in Hannibal.

The town's only recycling center is housed there, and without some more money, it could close.

All you have to do to help is vote.

"You can only skate on thin ice for so long. Pretty soon ... plop," John Yancey, board member with the Sheltered Workshop said.

"We have been making due for the last several years. I'm afraid if this does not pass, we have no alternative but to close the workshop," Dr. Erv Harder, a Sheltered Workshop board member said.

And if that happens, 42 to 43 people would be out of a job.

"Which means that they're going back to their residential care, or they'll have to go to the custodial center," Dr. Harder said.

"It would be a very bad day for me. I couldn't make it without this place to come to everyday to work and be with the people," Cindy Crow said.

So what needs to be done? Voters of Hannibal will have the chance to to increase funding for the shelter, but it's going to come at a cost. Right now, citizens pay an extra 70 cents on their monthly utility bill. That money generates more than five thousand dollars a month for the Shelter Workshop. Next Tuesday, Hannibal voters will decide whether to boost that monthly fee to $1.90.

"You gotta look at what you're buying. You're buying a recycling program that I guarantee you is cheaper than dirt if you're looking at what it costs for a recycling program in other communities," Yancey said.

And when you do the math, John Yancey says if the measure passes, Hannibal citizens would be out an extra $14.40 a year.

"If it closes, then the people of Hannibal are left without any recycling, whatsoever, and it's going to have to be picked up somewhere by the city because the federal government is going to come in soon and make it to where recycling is going to occur," Dr. Harder said.

"We think we have a good program. We think $1.90 is dirt cheap, and we hope the people understand that. If they would come and look at it, I believe they would vote for it twice," Yancey said.

The building itself is about 40-years-old, and board members say the equipment is old, trucks and broken down, and they know they'll need more vehicles and equipment in the future. That's why they want to make the $1.20 jump at once instead of going incrementally.

"This is the third time that we've been to the ballot. We wanted to make sure we didn't have to go back next year and say we haven't done enough," Yancey said.

If the measure passes, it would bring in about $200,000 a year for the Sheltered Workshop and keep recycling in America's Hometown.

The Sheltered Workshop recycles about 1000 tons a year.

Election Day is Tuesday November fifth.

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to read more on Proposition #1.