SOUDERTON — An $18,463.07 check was delivered to Souderton Borough Council's Feb. 10 work session by Richard Halbom, the borough's representative to the Northern Montgomery County Recycling Commission. 

The money is state funding paid to municipalities based on the amount of recyclables collected from the towns. 

"This is for 2018," Halbom said. "We can anticipate a similar check for 2019." 

 Halbom also said he has been elected chairman of the NMCRC and wants to work on having a change made to a portion of the state law governing electronics recycling. In most states, people can take televisions and other electronics back to retail stores and pay to have the item recycled, he said.

"Pennsylvania does not allow that so therefore businesses do not recycle," he said. The only other state with a similar rule is Illinois, he said. 

There are some other companies starting to offer electronics recycling for a fee, but that doesn't solve the problem, he said.

"We'd like to have the retailers be allowed to do it simply because it's more convenient for the customers," Halbom said. 

He said he expects the commission to be providing a proposed resolution to be brought back to the municipalities to be forwarded to state officials asking for a change to the state law. 

"It really is one sentence that needs to be removed. There's absolutely no reason why anybody should oppose that for any reason," Halbom said. "It's just one of those things that never quite makes it out of committee, so we'll see if we can get that pushed forward a little bit."

Under state law, electronics including televisions and computers cannot be disposed of in the trash.

The 11 towns in the Northern Montgomery County Recycling Commission are Ambler, Franconia, Hatfield Borough, Hatfield Township, Lower Gwynedd, Lower Salford, Montgomery Township, North Wales, Souderton, Telford and Towamencin. 

In answer to a question from Souderton Mayor John Reynolds about where the recyclables that are collected go to, Halbom said, "Where it doesn't go is China." 

There are a lot of businesses currently looking for ways to use recycled material, particularly plastics, he said. 

One promising possibility is to use recycled plastic bottles as an additive to asphalt, he said. 

"It does very, very well," Halbom said. "This program actually started in Scotland and has shown excellent promise." 

The issues with recycling plastics are cleanliness and separating the seven different grades, he said. 

"We don't have to worry about recycling aluminum. There is a thriving market for that," Halbom said. 

In answer to a question from resident Charl Wellener about whether the amount of recyclables collected in Souderton has increased since the borough went to a single hauler system for collection of trash and recyclables, Halbom said there has been a "significant increase."

In a separate matter at the meeting, Public Works Director Steve Coll said the borough is preparing to start work on the planned multi-year project making improvements and additions to Souderton Community Park. 

Equipment for the work will be entering the park from the Wile Avenue side, so the wall that is currently there will have to be removed to make room for larger equipment to get through, he said. 

"We might be taking that wall down this week," he said. 

The borough wants to start soon in order to get work done before this year's Concert Sundaes begin in the park, Borough Manager Mike Coll said.

Concert Sundaes is a 10 concert series of outdoor Sunday night concerts in the park's Maurice W. Foulke Bandshell beginning the first Sunday of June. This will be its 33rd year. 

This year's work in the park is expected to include work on drainage in front of the bandshell, as well as improvements to the lighting and sound system, Mike Coll said. 

He said he will also be meeting with a representative of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to see about the possibility of getting a state grant for portions of the park project.

The Souderton-Telford Rotary is leading efforts to raise funds to help pay for the project. In June of last year, the Rotary announced that the town clock section of the park is being dedicated in memory of former Mayor Charles Allebach. In August it was announced that another portion of the park will be dedicated to Marcus Rosenberger, who was involved in the planning for the bandshell and has been part of the Concert Sundaes Committee since it began, including leading the committee for 25 years. 

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