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Greene tackles trash

By Greg Bird
birdman@tmcvoice.com

Since his first day in office this past January McCreary County Judge Executive Jimmie “Bevo” Greene has had to deal with a lot of issues facing the future of the County.
One issue that has been at the forefront of concern has certainly been about garbage collection.
In January 2018, the Fiscal Court, under then Judge Executive Doug Stephens, entered in to a five-year agreement with Poff Carting to provide garbage collection services for McCreary County. But, lack of action on the part of the County has led the garbage collection company to threaten possible legal action for the County’s failure to uphold the terms of the contract.
Judge Greene stated this week that he has been in negotiations with representatives with Poff Carting to clear a path forward so the two entities can start fresh with a clean slate.
One major area of concern that had to be dealt with is the participation rate – or lack thereof.
While the garbage ordinance passed in 2017 calls for mandatory participation, fewer than half of McCreary County residences subscribe to the service. Reportedly participation did rise last year once an amnesty period was offered to customers, but many have since dropped off the rolls. Judge Greene said it appeared people realized the County was not doing anything to enforce its own law, and decided to cancel service – leading to a drop off in participation once again.
Judge Greene believes if participation rises, both the County and Poff Carting will be better off.
According to the terms of the franchise agreement, Poff Carting is to pay the County a franchise fee based off a percentage of total collections. But if less than 4,200 residential customers participate, there will be no fee remitted to the County. With the current participation rate (under half of all residents reportedly) as it is Poff Carting pays no franchise fee.
Those potential franchise fees could be used to help citizens, Judge Greene said.
“We have heard about the elderly and people on fixed incomes not being able to afford garbage service,” Judge Greene said. “If we were to start collecting franchise fees from Poff, we could use those monies to develop a program to offset the costs for those people. We can also use the money to pay for more roadside pickups and bulk item drop offs. It all can work together to make our County a better place.”
Judge Greene said he has reached an agreement with Poff Carting to offer a new pseudo-amnesty for new subscribers. Poff Carting was wanting to impose a hefty penalty, essentially collecting for past-due fees dating back to the start of last year. Those fees could potentially reach in to the hundreds of dollars, but Judge Greene was able to negotiate a much smaller fee to make it more reasonable for customers to sign up.
Any new customer that signs up for garbage service between now and May 1st will only have to pay a $50 fee, as opposed to the full past-due amount.
“It’s not a perfect solution,” Judge Greene admitted. “I know there will be people not happy with it, but we had to do something or face a potentially expensive lawsuit in the near future.”
Judge Greene noted that Poff Carting has been very patient with McCreary County in the past, including providing essentially three months of free service when they took over garbage collection.
In exchange for the reduced penalty Judge Green has assured Poff Carting that the County will begin taking steps on living up to our end of the bargain and taking the garbage issue seriously.
Judge Greene stated he hopes to be able to address the issue during next week’s Fiscal Court meeting, which could include developing a means to enforce the garbage ordinance.
County Attorney Austin Price was asked to evaluate the agreement between the Fiscal Court and Poff Carting to provide his opinion on what could be done, but he has not yet addressed the issue publically.
While there are no definitive details of what Judge Greene plans to propose to the Fiscal Court, he has stated on numerous occasions that something must be done to bring the County in to compliance with the agreement with Poff Carting.
Both the ordinance passed by the Fiscal Court in 2017, and the franchise agreement with Poff Carting, contain clauses calling for enforcement and mandatory participation.
The ordinance includes language authorizing the Fiscal Court to employ a code enforcement officer, as well as seeking legal action against individuals who fail to sign up for garbage collection.
A code enforcement officer, if hired, would not only be in charge of identifying residents who have not signed up for garbage service, but could also enforce other ordinances – such as the business license and occupational tax.
While the previous Fiscal Court balked at adding such a position, the impending threat of a lawsuit may spur the current administration to take action.

Tire collection success

Bulk item drop off
Saturday

By Greg Bird
birdman@tmcvoice.com

Several loads of waste and scrap tires were collected last week during the tire collection event at the State Highway Garage. McCreary County, in conjunction with the Kentucky Division of Waste Management, provided a free collection of waste tires in an effort to remove unsightly mess from the County.
Deputy Judge Executive Nathan Nevels stated several hundred tires were turned in over three days, making it a very successful event. An additional tire drop off event is taking place this weekend in Pulaski County.

In keeping with the County’s spring clean-up, McCreary County is hosting a free bulk item drop off at the Stearns Transfer Station from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday. In order to be able to drop off items at the transfer station, you must be a current Poff Carting customer.
For more information on the drop off please contact McCreary County Solid Waste Coordinator Cody Vanover at (606) 376-2556.

 

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