What’s Going on With the Pocahontas County Green Boxes?
Anyone who tried to take their trash to the Pocahontas County Green Box centers over the Thanksgiving weekend found that the gates were closed and locked on both Saturday and Sunday.
I can’t speak to the other locations, but at the Caesar Mountain location just outside of Hillsboro, there was a notice attached to the gate that said it was closed due to employee illness, and most of the green box dumpsters were not only overflowing with trash, but there were trash bags scattered all over the ground surrounding most of those dumpsters.
For those listeners not familiar with the Pocahontas County Green Box areas, when they are open -usually Saturdays, Sundays, Wednesdays and some Federal Holidays, they normally are staffed by an attendant, but the signs near the gates also say when they are closed, citizens may walk their garbage bags past the gate and to the dumpsters.
Two different families brought their trash to the Cesar Mountain site while I was there on Saturday, November 26. Independently, a member of each of these groups told me that they had been told by employees of the County Solid Waste Authority that the problem was not employee illness, but a lack of money to pay the employees to be there. One even said they were told that the green box facilities might be shut down permanently due to financial reasons.
The following day one of my neighbors told me she had taken her trash to the site on Sunday afternoon, saw the locked gate and read the sign but noticed a Solid Waste employee inside cleaning up the trash scattered around the dumpsters.
On the following Wednesday, I went to the Caesar Mountain green box site, arriving about 20 minutes after their posted closing time, expecting to have to walk the trash past the gate, but found the gate wide open with no attendant present.
To learn the truth about this situation, I attended the Solid Waste Authority’s Board meeting on December 7. While most of the meeting involved routine matters – financial reports and the like, during their Public Comments portion, I was able to ask about the green box situation on Thanksgiving weekend.
After assuring me that that the Solid Waste Authority had not run out of money to pay it’s employees nor was it considering shutting down the very popular Green Box Program, the board members said that since two of their three truck drivers, who hold CDL Drivers licenses were sick that week, and since the attendants had all worked on Thanksgiving Day, which is required by state law, they decided to close all green box locations on Thanksgiving weekend. They said employees were upset when they later found that people had piled trash around the outside of the full boxes that were closest to the gate, rather then just either taking it home with them and bringing it back another day, or at least walking it to some of the dumpsters located further away from the gate which still had some room in them.
Regarding my finding the open gate at the Caesar Mountain site after closing hours on the following Wednesday, the board members explained that they have had vandalism problems at that site and someone had damaged the gate so that it could not be locked. They said someone had broken into the gate recently and stole one of the recycling trailers which was valued at $5,500.00. So, these are the actual facts about the green boxes in Pocahontas County.