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  • Writer's pictureWCMP

Change in Pine County's Recycling Hauler Causes Concern for Bruno Site

Pine County is currently figuring out to serve residents in the north end after issues with its recycling contract would potentially eliminate the recycling site in Bruno.

The concern comes after the company that previously handled the county’s recycling decided to not renew its contract right after Pine County approved the 2023 budget in December.

Cloquet Riverside Recycling was the only company to return a proposal to the county. They provided two options - One that kept the Bruno site but was $32,000 over what had been budgeted and one that was within the budget but closed the Bruno site.

The Mayor of Bruno Doug Blechinger spoke before the board on January 17, where he asked them to reconsider.

"There's no question that they're being used," Blechinger said. "On Sundays, it's a nonstop line of people doing their recycling. A lot of people are not happy with the Sandstone site because the hours are so short and people have a hard time getting in there."

None of the commissioners at the board meeting were happy with the idea of closing the site. Commissioner JJ Waldhelm suggested that they should pull funding from the East-Central Regional Library or use remaining ARPA funds to cover the additional costs; however, Vice Chair Terry Lovegren did not want a lack of library funding to cause residents to lose services.

The board approved a five-year contract with Cloquet Riverside Recycling that would keep the Bruno site open while they continue to look into the issue.

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