Montcalm County resource recovery coordinator gets a raise


By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 9:26 am on Monday, August 05, 2013

Jacob Rytlewski was hired as the resource recovery coordinator for Montcalm County’s solid waste program in October 2011. He recently received a wage increase from the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners after implementing a number of progressive recycling changes in the county. — Courtesy photo

STANTON — Montcalm County’s resource recovery coordinator is getting more resources to do his job.

Jacob Rytlewski recently asked the Montcalm County Finance & Personnel Committee to increase his hourly wage from $17 to $19 per hour.

Rytlewski works 32 hours per week and is not considered full-time, so he does not have health insurance. Rytlewski, who lives in Belding, recently marked his 26th birthday, meaning he is no longer eligible to be on his parents’ health insurance plan. He estimates it would cost him about $110 per month to be enrolled in Priority Health.

“I feel like I’m kind of an island in this county,” Rytlewski told commissioners. “I’m a one-man department and there isn’t really a set protocol for what’s going to happen to me. I’ve been trying to reduce costs on my end and create revenue and that has been happening. I have the drive to motivate myself daily in my job to make what limited money we have do the most good. I am a college graduate with bills to pay. I have to really look at where I am.”

The Board of Commissioners approved the wage increase request effective July 1.

“Understand that that wage can very easily be looked at again,” noted Commissioner Ron Baker of Howard City. “We may look at it again at the first of the year. It’s not a permanent wage. It can go up or down accordingly.”

Rytlewski was hired as the resource recovery coordinator for Montcalm County’s solid waste program in October 2011 after Michigan State University Extension eliminated the position due to a state cut to higher education funding. A graduate of Northern Michigan University, Rytlewski earned a bachelor of science degree in environmental conservation with a double minor in geographic information systems (GIS) and alternative energy.

In the less than two years he’s been resource recovery coordinator, Rytlewski has brought a number of progressive changes to Montcalm County.

Electronic recycling (e-recycling) is now available throughout the county, thanks to a traveling Comprenew trailer that makes lengthy stops in various communities. Comprenew has already collected well over 100,000 pounds of e-recycling in Montcalm County this year.

The e-recycling trailer is currently in Eureka Township until Aug. 11. It will then move to the city of Stanton in the southwest corner of the city parking lot at Walnut and Camburn from Aug. 13 through Sept. 2.

Hazardous Household Waste Day on June 15 resulted in the county collecting 31,349 pounds of hazardous household waste, along with 587 tires, which will be recycled. These totals are double last year’s results of 15,824 pounds of hazardous household waste and 379 tires.

According to Montcalm County Controller-Administrator Chris Hyzer, the county’s solid waste fund had been losing money since 2007, anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000 per year. The county cut ties with Recycle World and went with Allied Waste/Republic Services, which reduced costs and also made recycling containers available 24/7 to residents in seven communities — Carson City, Crystal, Edmore, Howard City, Lakeview, Montcalm Township and Stanton. The recycled items are brought to Kent County’s Recycling Center.

“Jacob’s done a wonderful job,” Hyzer said. “He’s improved the program immensely compared to where it was. He’s almost doomed himself because the containers are so full the committee’s really having to look at adding containers to sites and adding containers to sites is going to increase the cost because Allied Waste will have to make more trips.”

Rytlewski said local people are really catching on to recycling.

“Basically every week those containers are full,” he said. “People are really taking advantage of that service.”

For more information about recycling options in Montcalm County, call Rytlewski at (989) 831-7504 or email him at jrytlewski@co.montcalm.mi.us.

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