Public Hearing On 2011 Green Box Fees Draws Few People
Marlinton, WV – If you were to gauge the level of interest in the Pocahontas County Green Box fees by the turnout at a public hearing Wednesday night, you might come to the conclusion that it’s really not that big an issue. Or perhaps, few wanted to come to the Pocahontas Solid Waste Authority meeting on a cold and rainy night.
One of those who did make to the hearing is county resident Alice Arbuckle. She says as a single homeowner, she feels she shouldn’t be held to the same rate structure as larger households.
“I’m here to take advantage of the hearing to say once again that it’s unfair as those that have three or more say under one roof” says Arbuckle.
She says she’d also like to see the board come up with more innovative plans that will not increase the fees for next year. Doug Bernier, a current SWA board member, says he’s not sure they are strictly following state code in promoting recycling. He says he believes the current one fee fits all structure is actually a disincentive to recycling.
Bernier also read a letter from longtime green box fee opponent and former SWA member John Leyzorek. SWA Chairman Ed Riley thanked them for their input. The board will officially take up the discussion of the 2011 Green box fees at their April meeting.
In other business, administrative assistant Mary Clendenin presented the proposed 2011-2012 SWA budget. Board member Jim Burks praised Clendenin for her work, but zeroed in on one aspect that he would not agree to approve – an allocation of $40,000.00 for legal services.
“I think in a trucking business when you’re budgeting $40,000.00 for an attorney and $35,000.00 for fuel, in the trucking business, we need to look at that” says Burks. “When you only have x amount of dollars, and this is something I’ve harped on forever, that is a significant amount of money. That’s probably the fourth biggest number on our entire total expenditures, are our expenses for legal services.”
Riley says the legal services amount is high because of the number of cases the SWA is pursuing against those who have not paid their green box fees. He says the possibility of being sued is a powerful incentive to pay.
“But the other thing you get into is if you don’t sue these people, you just might as well shut the door because nobody else is going to pay; that’s what we run into” says Riley. “And now that we’ve sued them, a lot of those are showing up, people paying their two years [old bills] or what have you that they’re behind.”
After further discussion, Burks made a motion to change the legal services line item to $20,000.00. The motion passed on a 2 to 1 vote with Riley opposed. The board then voted to approve the amended budget, again on a 2 to 1 vote with Riley opposed.
The board opened and discussed two bids for electronic recycling from Scott Recycling of Knoxville, TN and PC Renewals of Morgantown, WV. Clendenin says the SWA hopes to hold a two day electronic recycling event in May, hence the need to contract with a company to haul the electronics away. However, neither company fully meets the bid specs as outlined in the SWA’s advertisement. The board decided to reject both bids and re-advertise.
Clendenin says they have also submitted paperwork to apply for a $20,000.00 grant from the West Virginia Solid Waste Management. If approved they want to use the money to purchase a pickup truck for pulling recycling trailers.