County board considers penalties for communities that don’t follow recycling grant rules
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent August 25, 2013 10:06PM
Updated: August 26, 2013 6:18PM
CROWN POINT — Cities and towns receiving recycling grants may face tighter reporting and use requirements or risk losing their grant money if proposed tweaks to the process are approved.
No action was taken this month by Lake County Solid Waste Management District officials on a plan to take disbursements away communities who fail to file their reports on how the grant money is being used. Communities also would be penalized for sitting on the checks once they have been disbursed and failing to use the money for the intended purposes.
George Jerome, chair of the LCSWMD’s recycling grant committee, said the process needs to be changed to ensure the monies are being used as intended and prevent the possibility for loss.
The plan calls for LCSWMD staff to notify by email the communities that have not yet filed their reports 10 days prior to the deadline. If they fail to file the report by the deadline, or request an extension for filing, that community will forfeit its disbursement. Any forfeited grant money would be returned to the pool and redistributed to the compliant communities.
Communities that do not cash a disbursement check within a specified time period also would face forfeiture of funds. County Treasurer John Petalas said sometimes checks are not promptly cashed and risk being misplaced.
“We had a couple instances where we actually had a community that never cashed a check in over a year,” Petalas said, adding it happened at least twice.
Jerome said communities would also risk forfeiting future disbursements if it is discovered funds are used for an unapproved purchase or if the checks are not cashed within an allotted time.
Grants could still be rolled over by a community from year to year if that community is saving for a larger qualified purchase. The community would have to indicate in its report what that purpose would be and then follow through with the purchase when enough money has been set aside.
Joe Simonetti, who also served on the committee, said the changes to the reporting requirements will help the program run better.
“I think it’s very workable. It gives people an incentive to get those reports in,” Simonetti said.