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Braxton receives state grant money

by Paul Darst

STAFF WRITER

A 1978 Ford U-Haul truck makes its rounds, picking up recyclables each day in Braxton County.

Because of its age, the truck is unreliable and often needs repaired.

But that soon will end thanks to a new state grant the county Solid Waste Authority received this week.

Braxton was among 19 counties around the state that received shares of $238,999 from the state Solid Waste Management Board Wednesday.

Most of Braxton's $20,000 grant will go toward equipment purchases, said Bridget Grounds, director of recycling.

"Our first priority is the purchase of a new recycling truck to transport our materials to market," she said Thursday.

"The one we have now is very unreliable, so we need to improve on that."

Other area counties also received money from the state, according to information from Gov. Cecil Underwood's office. Barbour County received $17,600 that will be used to make general improvements to the recycling program, and Randolph County was awarded $13,000 that will go toward establishment of a Saturday drop off recycling program.

Officials from those county programs could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

Braxton plans to spend $10,000 to $17,000 on a truck, with the remainder set aside for the purchase of a forklift for the recycling center, Grounds said.

Those purchases will be one more step in the rebuilding of the county program during the past few years, Grounds said.

"We've been operating since 1990, but we were closed for a period because funding was nonexistent," she said. "The county commission has helped us greatly, and we've made improvements during the past three years based on grants from the (Division of Natural Resources), and now the Solid Waste Management Board."

And the county already has plans for more improvements, Grounds said.

"Our next goal is to build a new recycling center," she said. "We've outgrown this one, and with the rent we're paying, we could own our own building."

But that plan will have to rely on future grants, she said.

This year's state grants will help further the Solid Waste Management Board's goal of recycling half of the municipal solid waste by Jan. 1, 2001, according to the governor's office press release.

Staff writer Paul Darst can be reached at 626-1404.

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