Four months after a recycling proposal was defeated in Hannibal, voters in the community will have another recycling issue to consider on Tuesday, Aug. 4. John Yancey, volunteer interim manager for the Northeast Missouri Sheltered Workshop (NMSW), is optimistic that revisions made to the April proposal will change the outcome in August.


Four months after a recycling proposal was defeated in Hannibal, voters in the community will have another recycling issue to consider on Tuesday, Aug. 4. John Yancey, volunteer interim manager for the Northeast Missouri Sheltered Workshop (NMSW), is optimistic that revisions made to the April proposal will change the outcome in August.
“That was primarily our justification for putting it back on the ballot so quickly, because people didn’t understand the wording of the (April) ballot,” he said. “Nobody knew whether they were going to be charged 99 cents, or $1, or 1 cent. They also weren’t sure who was going to offer the service and exactly what would be offered.”
One of the big changes has to do with the cost of the program. In April, a cap of $1 per Hannibal household each month was included in the proposal. The latest proposal details the monthly fee that will be assessed each Hannibal home.
“This time it’s purely and simply stated as 70 cents maximum,” said Yancey. “We believe that 70 cents a month is a reasonable price.”
Also stated in the August proposal is that the sheltered workshop will operate the recycling program. In April there were concerns that the city would have to seek bids from potential program operators.
“Now the city attorney (James Lemon) tells us the way this one (ballot language) is written there’s no conflict and it’s one that people can feel comfortable with,” said Yancey.
Yancey hopes voters will understand that the service provided by the NMSW exceeds what other potential recyclers would do.
“There’s no option to the service that is provided by the sheltered workshop. We pick things up from industries and businesses. We have open containers 24/7. We do (recycle) everything except glass and garbage,” he said. “We’re the only ones that are offering a true recycling program.”
While the ballot language has changed, the financial need behind the ballot issue remains the same.
“It’s just a matter of survival,” said Yancey. “The economic meltdown has put us in a position that the recycling program is not sustainable as far as the sale of the product is concerned. We’ve got to have some assistance and we feel since it’s a city-wide program that the people ought to be willing to support it. That’s their decision.”
Only a simple majority is needed to decide the proposal’s fate.  
“We feel that we’ve publicized it (ballot issue) enough that they understand it better this time. We believe they’ll support it. Hopefully they’ll support it. If they don’t we’ll have to do something different,” said Yancey.
Aside from the revenue generated by the recycling program, and whatever other small projects that can be picked up, the NMSW’s income is supplemented by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). According to Yancey, the state pays $17 a day for every worker that works six hours a day.
“If it wasn’t for the fact we were being supported by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the 70 cents would not be enough,” he said. “But that (DESE money) doesn’t nearly fund the operation. If you’re going to do any kind of work, you’ve got to have supervision for these people and at this particular point we have four supervisors and 30 people.”
If the ballot issue fails, the NMSW will face a cash crunch.
“The worst thing that could happen of course is we’re not able to sustain the operation. If you take that much money out of our program I’d say, given the amount of money we’re able to raise by selling the product, there’s not much chance of our survival,” said Yancey. “We’ll be able to survive a while, but there’s just certain things (expenses) that have to be met.”
What happens if the measure is approved?
“If we’re blessed with a positive result in the election we hope to make our recycling program for the city of Hannibal the best that money can buy,” said Yancey. “We’d like to get into the business of being a complete recycling program, in that we would like to recycle glass and anything else that is possible.”