DuPage eyes funding SCARCE through 2013
Updated: June 5, 2012 2:20PM
A DuPage County proposal to provide up to $195,000 for School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education over the next 17 months aims to put the environmentally minded organization on a path to financial independence.
The resolution, up for review by the county’s environmental committee Tuesday morning, frames SCARCE as a hired consultant and allocates support through Nov. 30, 2013, the end of the fiscal year. Its rationale is based on officials’ belief that the agency is in a position to tap new revenue streams and place less reliance on funding support from DuPage, which in recent years has covered nearly half of the agency’s $325,000 budget.
Revenue for the county’s support of SCARCE programs and services has come from landfill tipping fees and permit fees, both of which have declined since the practice began.
County Board member Jim Healy of Naperville said if the sum is approved by the full board, it will shrink in subsequent years.
“It would be reduced again, and then it would be reduced down again,” said Healy, who has noted that the goal has always been for SCARCE to secure funding from more stable sources. “I think the county has to make a decision about what level is appropriate coming from the county, and what should be found from other sources.”
Committee member Dirk Enger has been working with chairman Jeff Redick on addressing the June 30 expiration of county funding for SCARCE. He’s not so sure the support from DuPage has to wane after next year.
“I think there’s a lot of things that the county hasn’t taken into consideration,” Enger said. “What’s on the horizon is the permit (fees) that will be coming out of College of DuPage projects.”
Even more significant, he said, is the pending Royce Renaissance project in unincorporated Oakbrook Terrace, which would bring up to 1,925 new living units and a collection of commercial buildings to a site near 22nd Street and Butterfield Road. It’s expected to take three or four years, Enger said.
Kay McKeen, founder and executive director of SCARCE, is hopeful that the measure will meet the County Board’s approval.
“I’m very glad for 18 months, so that we have time to work on some more things,” McKeen said.
She and her staff have been studying possibilities for new income, including an upcoming grant round at the DuPage Community Foundation. They also are laying plans for a fundraising event, set for Oct. 24.
at the Westin Hotel in Lombard.
McKeen isn’t new to gathering income from sources such as scrap metal dealers and electronics recyclers. But those generally generate small sums.
“We’re going to have to do more than that, so it’s a new mindset for us,” she said.
The funding issues, which have taken center stage for much of the past year, have drained some of the energy McKeen and her fleet of volunteers are able to devote to the growing array of programs provided by SCARCE at no cost to the participants.
“Of course you’d like to be able to do everything you want to do,” she said. “But this is going to allow us 18 months without scary things and hassles and all that. And we’ll go from there.”