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Representatives from First Star Fiber recently presented information to the David City City Council regarding the city’s recycling center, just weeks after the council voted to postpone repairing one of the center's balers during its Jan. 23 meeting.

The David City Recycling Center, 174 E St., serves as a drop-off point for recyclable material. The city sends collected cardboard and plastics to First Star Recycling in Omaha, metal cans to Alter Metal Recycling in Columbus and magazines/newspapers to a facility in Norfolk. As previously reported in The Banner-Press, many on the council questioned continuing to operate the center because the city loses about $15,000 annually to keep it open.

Danielle Easdale and Jeff Heck of First Star Recycling told the council on Feb. 27 that the city could save money by sending all of its material to First Star instead of to multiple facilities. As for fixing the baler, Easdale said First Star could help the city with grant writing in order to receive funding from the Nebraska Recycling Council for the project, as well as the construction of a loading dock at the center.

A baler is a machine used by the center to crush and compact collected cardboard. While currently operational, Street Foreman Chris Kroesing it will eventually need to be repaired if the center wishes to continue accepting cardboard. A bid to fix the machine came from Riekes Equipment of Lincoln at the price of $2,234. Mayor Alan Zavodny said he liked the idea of sending all of the city's recyclables to one center as opposed to three and applying for grants.

“It doesn’t make sense to me that when we’re not making any money the way that it is. To spend more money going all these different directions, doesn’t make any sense to me," Zavodny said. “I guess our next step is to apply for the grant, see if we can get our baler fixed and get the dock, probably, if that’s the best way to go."

Ward 1 Council Member Skip Trowbridge said the city would have to look at the numbers in order to know how much it would save before agreeing to any kind of new deal.

“From my understanding, revenue is our biggest shortcoming, and I haven't heard anything yet indicating where the revenue is going to increase from," Trowbridge said to Easdale during the meeting.

She said First Star would send the city data showing how much it could save by solely going with the company.

First Star Fiber President and CEO Dale Gubbels told The Banner-Press that closing the recycling center would be a bad idea. He said he hopes that the city and First Star Fiber can work out a deal in order to keep it open.

"We think that obviously would be short-sighted for a lot of reasons," Gubbels said about closing the facility. "A well-run recycling center in a rural community will save the city money on landfill disposal."

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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Eric Schucht earned his bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Oregon in 2018. He has written for The Cottage Grove Sentinel, The Creswell Chronicle, The Pacific Northwest Inlander and The Roseburg News-Review.

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