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You are raising a very thoughtful question, Allison. I hope readers will 
post any responses to the whole list.

Helen Spiegelman
Vancouver BC

At 07:27 PM 03/25/2002 -1000, Allison Fraley wrote:
>I am the Recycling Coordinator for Kauai, Hawaii. About 10 years ago, we
>received a $2.2 million EDA grant to build a waste diversion facility
>and create jobs in this sector. After many futile attempts to get a
>reuse operation in place, I was hired, and we have recently awarded a
>contract to a recycler who is proposing to use the facility to divert
>new materials that aren't currently handled on Kauai (including #1
>plastics, computers, and pallets). Our contractor will also process
>materials that are already being diverted by existing commercial
>recyclers (these materials include tires, cardboard, paper, and
>nonferrous scrap). The contractor has offered to pay a rental value that
>is below fair market value to use the space and recycling equipment at
>the facility. While this was a fair bid process and this was the best
>proposal that we received, our County Council is questioning whether it
>is right that we are "subsidizing" the program by allowing the
>contractor to pay a rental price that is below fair market value. They
>contend that other private sector recyclers are at a disadvantage for
>County contracts and commercial sector recycling services.
>Since we are subject to a state mandate (no teeth) to implement waste
>diversion strategies, I would argue that it is the County's obligation
>to utilize the facility to foster competition in recycling and increase
>diversion opportunities for residents and businesses. However, there is
>a major concern that this contractor now has an unfair advantage.
>Our physical isolation creates an atmosphere of limited competition in
>the private sector; in fact, we have only one fiber recycler on island,
>and this issue is politically charged. Has anyone had a similar
>experience in which grant funds are said to compete with private sector
>recycling? I'm hoping to gain some legal perspective based on a similar
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