Meeting on the county's recycling practices is set for Oct. 10.

SHALIMAR — The Okaloosa County Commission plans to host a public workshop and “listening session” Oct. 10 on the county’s recycling practices.

On Sept. 17, a majority of the commission approved sending recycled items from Waste Management customers in the county’s franchise area to a landfill in Jackson County rather than paying higher costs while continuing to send the items to the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority’s recycling facility in Cantonment.

Commission Chairman Kelly Windes and commissioners Graham Fountain, Trey Goodwin and Carolyn Ketchel also agreed to take the landfill route over disbanding the recycling program.

Their decision called for the recycled items to be mixed with trash in the landfill starting Tuesday. Many of the items reportedly will break down into methane gas to be used for energy.

Commissioner Nathan Boyles was the only commissioner who favored continuing the partnership with the ECUA.

The ECUA’s proposed new agreement to keep handling the county’s recycled items included an increase of about $350,000 to what the county has budgeted for recyclable material processing in fiscal 2020, which starts Tuesday.

That cost could be covered with money in the county’s solid waste enterprise fund reserves or by raising residential customers’ rates by $1 per month, but most commissioners didn’t like either scenario.

However, they and other county officials have been hearing from many of their constituents who are perturbed by the decision to take the recyclables to a landfill.

In a public notice that Windes hand-delivered to the Daily News on Friday afternoon, county officials said they have confirmed the amount of reserves available in its solid waste fund at the projected total of $3.7 million.

“Although this amount represents a sizeable reserve balance, the county is faced with a future significant expenditure related to mitigation at one of our closed landfills,” officials said in the notice.

“As chairman, I take full responsibility for not expanding the discussion on the use of reserves to supplement recycling at our last BCC meeting,” Windes said in the notice. “Let me assure the public that your voices have been heard and we stand ready to explore all options that may preserve recycling in Okaloosa County. My dad taught us to damn the excuses — just get the job done.

“This board will do our best to right the ship. I appreciate the public’s participation in their government, look forward to their input and hope to see them on the 10th."

The Oct. 10 meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. in the commission chambers at the County Administration Building at 1250 N. Eglin Parkway in Shalimar. Commissioners will listen to comments from the public as well as further recommendations from staff, according to the notice.

The meeting will be broadcast live on the county’s Facebook page.