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Recycling company owner reneges on grant pledge

The recycling company owner who pledged a $25,000 grant to the city of Hendersonville for switching to rollout recycling containers wants to renege on the offer.

At a March meeting of the Hendersonville City Council, public works director Tom Wooten told the council that the cost of changing from the blue bins to wheeled carts could be offset by a $75,000 grant from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR). During the same meeting, American Recycling owner Ron Moore urged the council to expand the city recycling program. As an incentive he offered the city a $25,000 grant for investing in the rollouts.
The council agreed. The city bought the new containers and launched the program on Jan. 6. Now, Moore said he can't afford to write the check.
"Mr. Moore has contacted the City of Hendersonville and stated that his business is struggling and he would like for the city of Hendersonville to release him from the $25,000 commitment," City Manager John Connet told the council. "We have informed him that the funds are budgeted and he made a contract with the City of Hendersonville. Staff also informed him that the City Council (members) are the only ones that can release him from this contract."
Moore is expected to attend when the council takes up his request on Thursday.
City Councilman Jeff Miller said he had not decided how he will vote.
"I think it's one of those cases where he bit off a little more than he could chew," Miller said. "Obviously be took for granted that everything would work out perfectly and obviously it didn't and now he's just treading water, it sounds like. He owes the city $25,000 right now. I certainly have sympathy for him. We know how tough it can be in this economy. But the city of Hendersonville based its decision in good faith" on his commitment to help pay for the carts.
Although the city does not have a written contract with Moore, his pledge at the council meeting constitutes a legally enforceable debt, City Manager John Connet.

Moore said Tuesday he did not want to discuss the matter publicly before the City Council meeting on Thursday night.