It's finally official: the Rim country's curbside recycling program is dead.
Tyler Tabar, owner and president of Arizona Recycling Curbside Specialists the Phoenix-based company that operated the area-wide, Town of Payson-endorsed program told the Gila County Attorney's Office that his company is now officially defunct.
"He finally called me and said he was out of business," Byron Cotney, administrative assistant to County Attorney James Hazel, said.
Cotney has been trying for more than two weeks to contact Tabar to determine the status of the program, following several complaints lodged by Rim country residents. Those complaints were from residents who had paid for a year in advance for weekly curbside service.
ARCS suspended service in the Rim country March 2 and subsequently missed two announced resumption dates.
Most recently, a press release from ARCS announced "the temporary interruption of the curbside recycling program in the Rim country area." In the release Tabar blamed the current business climate for the disruption in service, said the "bag" recycling program is currently under review, and announced that ARCS is developing a new program that will be "more adaptable to the logistic needs of the area ... in order for service to continue."
He promised to release details on the "workability of a new plan" by April 20.
"It's sad, but I guess they gave it a try," Payson Public Works Director Buzz Walker said. "There are so many businesses up here that start up and then don't make it that you hate to see another one."
Cotney said the county attorney's office sent Tabar a letter asking ARCS to refund all money due Rim country customers. According to Tabar's father Dick, who was at one time associated with the company, ARCS has about 400 local customers who paid $19.20 in advance for a year of weekly curbside recycling pick-ups.
Depending on how Tabar responds to the letter, Cotney said the matter could be referred to the county attorney for possible criminal prosecution.
Cotney's efforts do not, the county attorney said, constitute a criminal investigation. "Byron is not a criminal investigator," Hazel said. "As my administrative assistant, he tries to help people with citizen's complaints."
Launched in November, the ARCS service was touted as the last link in the town's recycling program, a private enterprise that, according to Walker, was a creative way to work with private industry for the betterment of the community.
The town supported the program which allowed participants to put newspapers, magazines, junk mail, bottles, cans, aluminum and plastics in blue and white bags for weekly pick-up through educational programs at local schools and for groups and organizations.