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Hernando puts recycler's bonding company on notice for debt

BROOKSVILLE — The corporation that runs Hernando County's recycling center hasn't paid a couple of its bills, and on Tuesday the county put both the court handling the company's bankruptcy and its bonding company on notice that it wants its money.

SP Recycling Corp., which took over the recycling operation at the county landfill on a five-year contract in April 2010, failed to pay bills in October and November — fees the county collects, including landfill tipping fees, and money from the sale of recyclables.

Currently, the company owes Hernando County $32,069.

"As a result of SP Recycling Corporation's default, Hernando County formally makes a claim against the above-referenced bond for all coverages and remedies provided therein,'' Assistant County Attorney Jon Jouben wrote to the president of the bonding company.

If the bonding company doesn't pay up by March 17, "Hernando County will have no choice but to file suit against Westchester Fire Insurance Company for damages, attorney's fees, court costs and interest,'' Jouben wrote.

In mid November, the company's parent, SP Newsprint Holdings, based in Atlanta, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection; SP Recycling is a wholly owned subsidiary.

As SP Recycling's regional director of operations, J.J. Findlay, explained it Tuesday, the parent company is a publishing company and ran into the same financial issues that many other publishing firms have faced in recent years.

Findlay said the issue will be resolved, and Hernando County will be made whole.

"We anticipate the county will receive all of their money,'' he said. "It's just a matter of going through the bonding company and the court.''

In the meantime, the recycling program has continued uninterrupted. There have been no layoffs.

"We have no intention of any layoffs, and in fact we hope to expand that business,'' Findlay said.

He also noted that while the bills for October and half of November were not paid, since Nov. 15 SP Recycling has been paying the county, including money due for December and January. And he said a check for February would be cut in just a couple of days.

Scott Harper, the solid waste manager at the landfill, said there was no outward sign of changes at the recycling center and none are anticipated.

"They haven't missed a beat,'' Harper said.

Since the county changed its garbage hauler on Jan. 1 and began offering countywide curbside recycling, officials have hoped for an uptick in the amount of recycling done by residents. Harper said he has not yet seen that happen.

Findlay said he would welcome a growth in recycling and that his company will be able to handle it when it happens.

SP Recycling has been the leading recycler of recovered paper and other recyclables across the Southeast and Pacific regions of the United States since 1980, collecting, processing and shipping from 23 facilities in 12 states to SP Newsprint.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando puts recycler's bonding company on notice for debt 02/21/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 8:32pm]
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