Trash fee increased

Published 8:21 am Tuesday, June 14, 2011

JACKSON — Solid waste availability fees are increasing for Northampton County citizens.

Last week, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners agreed to a $1 per month ($12 for the year) increase to solid waste availability fees.

“The Solid Waste Enterprise Fun is operated like a business, it’s a service based program,” said Northampton County Public Works Director Billy Martin. “Expenditures for the proposed 2011-2012 budget exceed revenues by $122,784. This increase is needed to provide the Solid Waste budget with funds to operate under the proposed budget.”

Commissioner Robert Carter questioned if the county had ever used ad valorem tax dollars for the fee.

County Manager Wayne Jenkins said there were several years in which ad valorem taxes had been used for the fund, but the Local Government Commission eventually requested the county implement an action plan in order to make the fund self supported.

“The solid waste pick up is a service to our citizens that they must pay for if not using ad valorem taxes would cause us to get that nasty letter,” said Carter.

Carter noted if the county were to move forward another budget year without the increase they would have to spend “$123,000 round figures” to cover the fund.

“And the only way we could get that $123,000 is to use tax dollars if we do not apply this $1 a month fee,” he said.

Commission Vice Chair James Hester questioned how much the additional $1 per month would generate.

Martin said it would generate $128,052.

Commission Chair Fannie Green asked if the additional $1 would help the fund support itself.

“That’s correct, as long as the citizens will help us monitor those (extra) cans out there,” said Martin. “We’re constantly going out there and picking them up because everyone out there is not paying for that fee—it’s costing us.”

Martin said the extra trash can audit is being done weekly.

“It looks like we just do not have a choice,” said Greene. “We hate having to keep raising the price, but we’ve got to stay in compliance as far as Local Government (Commission) is concerned.”

Carter urged citizens to monitor the extra trash cans in their neighborhoods.

“I have not done so, but I’m going to start doing so as I ride around and see a residence that has more than one can,” he said. “I’m going to jot the name down and turn it in and let Public Works check on it and see if you’re paying for two cans, if not we’re going to pick up that one can that you’re not paying for. And that way we can cut down on our fee to our citizens.”

Martin said if citizens called him with an extra trash can concern, he could be on his computer within a matter of minutes to see if the fee is correct.

Martin said there is always an option to pay for another trash can.

Hester offered a motion to accept the solid waste availability fee increase. Carter voiced a second to the motion and the measure passed without objection with Commissioners Virginia Spruill and Chester Deloatch absent from the meeting due to illness.