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Garbage bill passes

In a special called meeting Thursday night the McCreary County Fiscal Court took final steps to approve a new garbage ordinance, thus beginning the next step of advertising for bids for a company to undertake garbage collection next year.

The special session lasted just 15 minutes as only two items of business were on the agenda: the second reading of the garbage ordinance and approval for 911/EMS to purchase a new vehicle with grant funds.

There was only brief discussion on the bill as Magistrate Roger Phillips asked Scott Solid Waste’s Carl Townes, who was in the audience for the meeting, his thoughts on the new ordinance.

Townes pointed out he felt that the ordinance changed nothing and the County was not going to accomplish their goals unless they took enforcement seriously.

“In my opinion you are in the same boat you were for the past three years or so,” he said. “You’re not enforcing the ordinance, it will be hard to get a company to bid if you are not going to enforce your own law.”

Townes noted a clause in the ordinance, which states the County may choose to employ a code enforcement officer, stating he believed the County should commit to enforcing its own laws.

Judge Stephens pointed out he did not have the authority to create such a position without the Fiscal Court’s approval, and that would be a matter to discuss at another time.

Magistrate Phillips asked if Townes was planning on supplying a list of more residences that were not on garbage service.

Townes quickly pointed out he submitted a list of 40 households in December, and the County had yet to take action on any of them, so he felt it was a waste of his time and resources to continue to identify households if the County was not going to do anything with it.

Judge Stephens appeared to have no recollection of the list at the time as he asked Townes who he delivered it to.

Townes handed that list to Judge Stephens in the December 8 meeting, when the contract was extended. It was stated at that time the list would be handed over to the County Attorney for possible action.

In January the County did expand the duties of the Community Service Program Coordinator to include managing the transfer station.

As discussion continued Townes also noted he has seen many people illegally dump their garbage in dumpsters owned by businesses, causing some of those businesses to cancel their services as needs for additional pickups meant more costs to that business.

Judge Stephens said there was language in the new ordinance that addresses such situations and he hoped it would help alleviate the problem.

“I agree, it addresses it,” Townes said with a hint of sarcasm, “but it needs to be enforced.”

Townes further added that only about 42-50 percent of county households are on regular garbage service pickups.

The ordinance was passed without any changes from the first draft, now allowing the County to seek potential garbage service providers in order to continue providing service after the end of the year.

With the ordinance passed the County can advertise a request for proposals from interested garbage service companies prior to the next Fiscal Court meeting on September 14.

Judge Executive Doug Stephens has stated he would provide prospective bidders a copy of the ordinance as well as a letter explaining what would be expected from a service provider and a copy of the current collection rates to establish an expectation of costs.

The new ordinance does not include expected pricing as previous ordinances had, and it also asks bidders to operate a local office for billing and to manage the transfer station in Stearns.

When the County and Scott Solid Waste negotiated a one-year extension on the current contract last December, SSW agreed to the new terms with the added agreement that they would not maintain their local office and turned over the management of the transfer station to the County. They also negotiated a lower franchise fee in exchange for keeping rates at the current level.

After the ordinance passed discussion turned to the other item of business on the agenda.

The Fiscal Court approved the purchase of a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe for use by McCreary County EMS and 911 to assist EMS/911 Director Jimmy Barnett and Emergency Management Director Stephen McKinney perform their duties.

Barnett explained that he and McKinney frequently use their personal vehicles to assist other units, and a departmental vehicle would be better suited.

The cost of the vehicle will be about $11,000. Barnett and McKinney shopped around for the best value and were able to negotiate the price from a Somerset dealer, including new tires.

Half the cost of the vehicle will be paid for using federal reimbursement through the Emergency Management Director program and the remainder will use existing vehicle grant funds with EMS.

It will be outfitted to allow space for emergency equipment, such as a stretcher, to assist with duties in poor weather.

The McCreary County Fiscal Court will next meet again in regular session on Thursday, September 14 at 6:00 p.m.

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