The 90-day trash trial with the service in Muncie is almost up, and New Castle City Council President Rex Peckinpaugh wanted to see what the plan was for the trash services for the rest of 2021.

Mayor Greg York told everyone the plan at the city council meeting Monday.

“At this point in time, we’ve weighed all the options, the employees have enjoyed going to Muncie, the trucks are staying cleaner,” York said. “At this time, we are going to continue to go to Muncie for trash service at least for the rest of 2021. The drivers of the trucks have all given us input on that, and we took a tour and seen what things were willing to be changed at Buster’s, and we took a tour through the landfill, and at this point, we’re just going to stay in Muncie for the rest of this year.”

Peckinpaugh immediately followed the mayor’s comments with a question.

“Is that going to cost us (New Castle) significantly more money?” Peckinpaugh asked.

According to Street Superintendent Lee Walker, the City of New Castle is right around the same place it was at this time last year with what they are spending.

Walker said going to Muncie instead of the local landfill is saving the trash trucks significantly with repairs. Through March of 2020, the department had spent over $2,700 on just repairs for the trucks. They’ve only spent $129 dollars on repairs in 2021.

“We’ve had no damage to our trucks and no tow bills for our trucks,” Walker told the council.

New Castle has roughly saved around $5,000 so far on the maintenance of the trucks. However, they have spent around $3,700 more so far for the new trash service.

“Basically breaking even,” Walker said.

Peckinpaugh then mentioned that someone from Haye’s Landfill (also called “Buster’s” by some locals) had called him and offered to put in a concrete pad.

“If the pad is the only difference between us going to Muncie and going there as far as the potential damage to the trucks, it seems to me that Buster’s would be a better choice,” Peckinpaugh said.

Mayor York rebuffed the suggestion.

“We need to back up a little bit. What started this whole conversation, I believe, was are we going to recycle?” the mayor reminded the council. “We can recycle at Muncie and we can’t here. This wasn’t started to just change locations. This was started to recycle.”

Peckinpaugh countered that the city didn’t yet have a proper idea of the cost of Muncie’s curbside recycling program versus the number of New Castle residents that were interested in using it.

“If we’re not gonna have enough people participate, it makes no sense to charge everyone in New Castle 6 to 8 to 10 extra dollars,” Peckinpaugh said.

In February, Peckinpaugh had asked council members Aaron Dicken and Jerry Walden to work with Superintendent Walker in seeking a Community Recycling Grant funded by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to get a true gauge of the local interest in such a program.

New Castle residents interested in curbside recycling are also invited to make their wishes known on the city’s website or by calling Walker’s office at 521-6831.

After all the discussion on trash and recycling Monday, Peckinpaugh said, “Well. that’s enough. Council does not really determine where the trash goes. The trash could go to Chicago and the council doesn’t have a vote in that.”

Other business

In other business, City Council member Jerry Walden gave some comment on the community garden plots that are going in the Castle Heights neighborhood.

“They look very nice and very well made,” he said.

The council then made their decision on when they would decide to move from the county courthouse back to the formal Council Chambers.

“We should just finish the month out here and then move in May,” Walden said.

Council members Mark Koger and Jeff Hancock said they are fine with it either way.

Dicken said, “I’d like to see continued masks and spacing out chairs, if possible or at least every other chair, because those chairs are right on top of each other.”

Peckinpaugh said he’d hate to go back if someone feels more comfortable at the county building.

“I’d rather stay here one more meeting,” he said, “so the first of May we will go back to the City Council chambers.”

The New Castle City Council will next meet next on Monday, April 19 at the Courthouse for the last time before moving back to the chambers in May.