STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
BURNET — City and county officials have agreed to a land donation to jumpstart a proposed regional reuse and recycling facility for household hazardous waste.
Burnet City Council approved the donation to Burnet County of a 9-acre tract of land on RR 963, adjacent to the existing trash transfer station, to move forward on the proposed project.
In the initial phase, county officials plan to apply for grant funding from the Capital Area Planning Council of Governments (CAPCOG) for construction seed money.
The facility would become the permanent location for regular and more frequent hazardous household waste collection events, specializing in recycling items such as batteries, paint, anti-freeze, and electronics as well as transfering them for disposal with existing vendors.
Currently, county officials in cooperation with area cities hold collection events at the Burnet County fairgrounds.
“The nine acres will be the new location,” said Burnet County Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Don Dockery.
In the current CAPCOG funding cycle, the county will receive a $35,000 grant for an Oct. 13 collection event along with money from municipalities across the county in increments of $500 to $1,000 each.
“Our goal, now that we have the land, is to apply with CAPCOG in the next biennium (two-year funding cycle) for the brick-and-mortar part of the project,” Dockery said.
Approximately $88,000 in grant money would amount to about half the funds needed for facility construction with the rest coming from the county and potential “buy-in” funding from area communities.
“This would be a pretty good size project — 100 percent enclosed,” Dockery said. “It will be done correctly. “
State law allows cities and counties to donate land as long as the use is for “public purpose.”
Burnet City Manager David Vaughn said the land donation would provide environmental benefits on a regional scale.
“It’s property that the city has owned since the 1960s,” Vaughn said. “It’s good for all the residents of the county, including the city because (it) will benefit from the hazardous household cleanup.”
County officials expect to apply for funding in the fall of 2019; however, they will first take steps in gathering support from “stakeholders” or surrounding communities.
“Obviously, we’ll have to show (CAPCOG) financial worthiness,” Dockery said. “We’re hoping this will be a regional project.
“Now that we have the land, we can move forward with the project,” he added.