Con­ve­nience cen­ters, fees OK’d

5 full-ser­vice fa­cil­i­ties will stay open af­ter June 30

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DAR­RYL WELCH dwelch@cov­news.com

The New­ton County Solid Waste Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity ap­proved the five full-ser­vice con­ve­nience cen­ters and one cen­ter for re­cy­cling and yard waste only that will re­main open af­ter June 30 at its Thurs­day night meet­ing.

The cen­ters that will re­main open are Adams Cir­cle, Stone Road, Ste­wart, Piper Road-36 and Oak Hill. Solid Waste Man­ager Kevin Wal­ter said ear­lier this month that the five cen­ters were cho­sen based on ge­og­ra­phy, giv­ing all county res­i­dents ac­cess to a cen­ter close to them. The five cen­ters will ac­cept house­hold trash, re­cy­clables, bulk waste and yard waste. The fee for the hang tag to use them is $145.

The By­pass cen­ter will re­main open for yard waste and re­cy­clables only. The fee for that hang tag is $24.

The $145 fee is a $1 in­crease from the orig­i­nal pro­posal of $144 for the tag. The in­crease came af­ter SWMA mem­bers Nancy Schulz and Lanier Sims, who are also mem­bers of the Board of Com­mis­sion­ers (BOC) ex­pressed con­cerns about cit­i­zen’s abil­ity to pay the fee. Schulz said she has heard from con­stituents who ex­pressed con­cerns about pay­ing the en­tire $144 fee at one time.

“I have re­ceived some phone calls from peo­ple who are in a fixed in­come sta­tus. Their com­ment to me was that $144 in one lump sum is very chal­leng­ing,” she said.

Sims said, “I have the same con­cerns as Com­mis­sioner Schulz. Even with $50, I got phone calls ex­press­ing hard­ship.”

Af­ter a lengthy de­bate that ranged from al­low­ing cit­i­zens with a hard­ship to pay the fee monthly or quar­terly, which re­port­edly would have added to the cost of ad­min­is­ter­ing

the tags, to cutting the fee for the tag, which would have af­fected the bot­tom line, the mem­bers de­cided to add $1.

The ex­tra $1 will go into a spe­cial hard­ship fund to as­sist peo­ple with a proven hard­ship in pay­ing for the tags. The cri­te­ria for who qual­i­fies for a hard­ship will be de­ter­mined at a later date.

Wal­ter said the $145 hang tag will al­low ac­cess to all six cen­ters. The cen­ters will be open Tues­day through Satur­day, 10 a.m. un­til 7 p.m.

The SWMA also ap­proved a new tip­ping fee for com­mer­cial haulers us­ing the land­fill. Ef­fec­tive July 1, haulers will be charged $39 a ton to dump trash at the land­fill. Pri­vate cit­i­zens and com­mer­cial haulers will pay a base charge $15 for the first 500 pounds of trash dumped. All amounts charged at the land­fill will be rounded up to the near­est dol­lar.

The new fees were ap­proved by a 4-1 vote, with mem­ber Sims vot­ing against the pro­posal.

The ef­fec­tive date for all new fees is July 1.

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