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Judge introduces new garbage ordinance

During Thursday night’s Fiscal Court meeting Judge Executive Doug Stephens introduced a new garbage ordinance in an effort to avoid another round of last-minute negotiations to keep garbage collection service up and running for the citizens of McCreary County.

The new ordinance will differ from ones in recent years, namely in the fact that it will not include a pricing structure as had been a feature in the past two contracts.

Instead, Judge Stephens will prepare a letter to be sent out with bid proposal requests that outlines the expectations the Fiscal Court would have from a prospective service provider and include the current rates as a means of knowing what the County’s expectations of costs will be.

The letter indicates the service contract would begin on January 1, 2018 and the winning company would be required to operate a local office for billing and customer service.

It asks if the bidding company would provide service to customers to dispose of bulk items, provide special service for handicapped customers and participate in the county’s recycling program.

The ordinance is more streamlined and efficient than previous ones Judge Stephens said, more clearly defining what is expected from the service provider and what the County will do as well.

While not specifically mentioning “universal” or “mandatory” collection for residents, it does state there will be no exceptions to the required proper disposal of solid waste, meaning residents and business owners have to eliminate their garbage in a lawful manner as defined by the ordinance.

It prohibits illegal dumping and burning of garbage, as well as any disposal not approved by McCreary County or the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection.

It establishes a fine for failure to dispose of solid waste in a manner prescribed by the ordinance – a minimum of $10 a day up to $500 for each conviction of an offense.

The ordinance also states the County may choose to employ a code enforcement officer to enforce the law and other County ordinances.

The ordinance passed the first reading Thursday night, and a special session has been called for August 24 at 6:00 p.m. for a possible second reading in order to allow for the advertisement for a request for proposals.

The last two times the Fiscal Court had to deal with garbage contracts had caused many issues and may have led to unfavorable deals for the County.

Over six years ago, when the previous contract with Scott Solid Waste was set to expire, the County had received bids from three companies offering to collect garbage. Scott Solid Waste, Cardinal Sanitation and Poff Carting had each submitted bids, but the Court rejected all three upon opening and asked for new bids to be submitted – using a pricing structure established by the Court using prices from the original bids.

This eventually led to a lawsuit from Cardinal Sanitation, in which they claimed the prices were taken from their bid, and as such, they should have been awarded the contract.

The lawsuit was eventually dismissed as the Court ruled the County did not violate any laws in doing so.

Scott Solid Waste was awarded the bid, and continued providing service for McCreary County.

When the last contract was due to expire the Court again solicited bids, but Scott Solid Waste was the only company to submit a bid. Their proposal was rejected after their pricing did not match the requested costs.

With a deadline looming for having garbage service the Fiscal Court entered in to a round of negotiations with Scott Solid Waste to hammer out a last minute deal.

An arrangement for a one-year extension was ultimately reached, but it included many concessions from the County including SSW closing their local office and a reduction in franchise fees paid by the company to the County. The deal expires in December.

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