ANN ARBOR-The private company that operates Ann Arbor's Materials Recovery Facility brought in more money for the city in 2000 than it has in any year since the facility was built five years ago.

In the 1998-99 fiscal year, Casella Waste/FCR, the company the runs the facility, brought Ann Arbor a profit on its recyclables of $2,818. Not a bad profit on crunching up plastic bottles and pop cans. Not bad, that is, until one considers how much the firm placed in city coffers this year: $269,733.

"The market conditions were really good," explains Bryan Weinert, Ann Arbor's manager for resource recovery and waste reduction. "We're extremely happy with the job our private contractor is doing, and expect even greater results in the coming year," Weinert said.

The firm's most recent fiscal performance got rave reviews from the White House Task Force on Recycling, which recently recognized Ann Arbor for meeting the National Recycling Challenge started by then-Vice President Al Gore in 1998.