Trash Talk Continues
March 5, 2020
Committee members declined sponsorship of a resolution Monday, presented by the county mayor, that sought to balance certain year-end budget shortfalls for Lewis County's Solid Waste account.
Mayor Jonah Keltner, chief financial officer of Lewis County, presented a compromise that was projected to raise $119,508, "just barely enough to cover the estimated $111,500 annual shortfall" resulting from the closure of Decatur County Landfill.
If 100 percent of the fees are paid.
The resolution proposed to increase rates for Commercial Solid Waste beginning April 1, 2020 to the "Proposed Quarterly Amount," on a document from the last meeting.
Outstanding fees from 2019 Residential Solid Waste collections due February 29, 2020 amount to $90,505, Mayor Keltner informed committee members.
"Some of our biggest critics on Facebook are on that list," the mayor added, without revealing identities.
An additional $45,000 remains delinquent from 2018 and prior. Some of those delinquent fee holders can expect to be cited into court with court costs added. But until the fees are collected, Lewis County taxpayers must back the approximately $200 in court costs per case to bring the delinquent fees to justice.
Also included in the resolution, the one that did not receive sponsorship, was an increase for Residential customers to $100 annually and a second increase on January 1, 2021 for Commercial customers that was tabled last meeting by a committee of Commissioners.
The delay until January 1, 2021 was suggested to allow businesses time to prepare.
A $10 late fee per month was suggested for Commercial customers.
Tom Reed for SGI (Sonnenschein Green Initiative) presented a survey of more than 300 members who wish to work with Lewis County Government toward education regarding recycling.
"Why are we not taking the initiative to make sure customers recycle?" Commissioner Aren Ragsdale asked Lewis County Solid Waste Director Tony Bailey.
"We tell people to separate and they will not," Bailey responded. "They will cuss you out."
Lewis County Commissioner Allison Tanner urged committee members to review the resolution. "We have to do something," she commented.
Land proposed for an expansion falls within a five mile radius of the Buffalo River, restricted by Chapter 169 of the Private Acts of 1990, amended in 2009. A vote to bring amending the Private Act for Lewis County to the full Board for discussion passed by a narrow four to two vote in committee.