Hobart supports garbage-to-ethanol plant
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent June 25, 2012 4:14PM
Updated: June 27, 2012 9:57AM
HOBART — The City Council has unanimously approved an interlocal agreement to send Hobart-generated garbage to the Powers Energy ethanol plant in Schneider, if and when it is constructed, becoming the seventh community to commit to the project.
The Joint Interlocal Cooperation Agreement is with the Lake County Solid Waste Management District and the ethanol plant.
Earl Powers of Evansville-based Powers Energy of America, who would develop and own the plant, has asked for commitments from communities, saying they could help him secure necessary funding.
The Hobart council’s vote last week came after Cliff Duggan, attorney for Lake County Solid Waste District, answered members’ questions about the feasibility of the project and the status of other proposed trash-to-ethanol plants.
Duggan said they should know by July 18 if the plant will be built. That is Powers’ deadline to show he has enough funding to build the plant.
Duggan said so far six other communities have passed the agreement. The town of Griffith rejected it; others are pending, he said. The St. John Town Council is slated to vote on the agreement when it meets Thursday.
Councilman Pete Mendez, D-2nd, asked how many other trash-to-energy facilities are running. Duggan said the company has about 46 projects in various stages, and one in Vero Beach, Fla., is about to start up.
Cost has been a concern for some communities. Under the agreement, communities would be able to remove themselves from the agreement if it became prohibitive for them to continue to participate.
In other matters, the council approved an interlocal agreement with the Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County that allows Porter County residents to utilize the city’s latex paint recycling center.
Public Works Director John Dubach said at the last council meeting that Porter County residents will be able to bring in their old paint for free and buy the recycled paint at the regular $3 a gallon price. All Lake County residents currently are able to participate in the program.
Mendez had recommended that out-of-county residents pay more for the paint, saying the city spent $9,000 for the program and got back $3,000.
Mayor Brian Snedecor said the initial ordinance provides for the $3 charge.
He said if it turns out more people bring in paint than purchase it, the Porter County Recycling and Waste District will be required to reimburse the city at a cost of $3 per gallon.
“We could explore the fee again at a later date.This agreement expires on Dec. 31,” Snedecor said.
He added the $9,000 expense includes some one-time costs.