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CEDAR FALLS | Recycling is becoming big business in the city of Cedar Falls.

So much so, that the city is anticipating a $1.2 million expansion of its recycling center sometime during 2014-15 fiscal year, which begins next July 1.

"We're getting more and more all the time," Public Works Director Bruce Sorensen said.

The City Council Monday night approved retaining AHTS Architects of Waterloo for up to $43,000 to design the expansion project. It would be financed by residents' refuse fees as well as the city's share of Black Hawk County Landfill proceeds.

According to a memo from city operations and maintenance division manager Brian Heath, the project would include a new baling system, expansion of the receiving area and the addition of shipping docks.

It's "all in an effort to increase processing capacity, efficiencies and commodity pricing," Heath wrote.

"We're seeing an increase in recycling by quite a bit, and the baled product is very important to us, because commodity prices are high," Sorenson said. The baler will sort and yield a cleaner product, by the bale, of various commodities.

The city received $285,000 in revenue from baled recycled commodities in the 2012-13 fiscal year and is anticipating $300,000 this year, in fiscal 2013-14, said Dick McAlister, the city's director of administrative services.

The exact dimensions of any expansion at the recycling center, on State Street between East 14th and East 15th streets, would be determined during the design work, Sorensen said.

The expansion has been contemplated for about four years, after public works offices relocated to the Cedar Falls Industrial Park following the 2008 flood, said McAlister. He noted that the city has seen an increase in recycling at the center and various drop-off locations, even without curbside recycling.

Also Monday, the council approved a schedule of increases in selected recreation fees effective next April 28, including some team fees for different recreational leagues, swimming lessons and a 50 cent increase in daily fees for use of the Cedar Falls Recreation Center.

Many of the fees being increased have not risen for about three years. Human and Leisure Services Director Mark Ripplinger said the city tries to stagger its various recreation fee increases on a cycle of about three years to cover increases in staff wages, supplies and equipment.

Also, city recreation division manager Bruce Verink noted in a memo to the city Parks and Recreation Commission, "With the Waterloo Sports Complex (Cedar Valley SportsPlex) opening, we should leave the non-resident and corporate fees where they are in hope in hope of encouraging a citizen to get a membership here as opposed to Waterloo, especially if they work here in Cedar Falls." The SportsPlex is scheduled to open Jan. 4.

The council took no action on golf fees. Ripplinger said it's anticipated the council will take those up at a special council committee of the whole meeting Jan. 20.

In other business, the council:

  • Approved the third and final reading an ordinance extending cable television franchise fees.
  • Received a report from Mayor Jon Crews appointing council member John Runchey as mayor pro tem for calendar year 2014 and council member Susan deBuhr as chair of the council's Administration Committee.

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