Darren Doyle, story and photo
Jeff Vonnohme, a Scott Waste representative, attended today's fiscal court meeting to inform the court of the waste management service's intention of increasing rates for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2016.
As per the contract, Vonnohme pointed out that Scott has the option to raise the rate by as much as 3% as a cost of living increase. This will increase the quarterly bills from $60.78 to just over $62.00.
The current contract has been in place since 2008 and is renewable every three years. This year's three year agreement is set to expires June 30th 2016, which is only three days away.
Magistrate Edd Rich asked if there would be any discounts for the elderly. "They don't get a 3% raise on their fixed incom, and some of them can't afford the rates they have now." Mag. Joe Durbin agreed and noted that many seniors don't even fill a trash can during a week but are still charged the same as the ones that do.
Vonnohme said there are senior discount rates available but wasn't able to quote the rates from memory.
Judge Wil Cannon suggested extending the current contract for 30-60 days in order to give the court time to discuss provisions made to elderly residents and discuss the nature of the rate increase, as the fiscal court was just learning of the price change.
Magistrate Mark Woosley said he'd like to see the court do away with three year contracts and look at doing an annual contract. Vonnohme said they would need to discuss the issue with the Scott Waste district manager. Cannon said he had no problem with a three year term as long as county residents get what they need in the agreement.
Scott Waste agreed to come back on the July 11 fiscal court meeting to discuss further and the court voted to extend the current contract by 60 days until the details are worked out. The extension will end on August 30th. Rates on properties with more than one can, elderly rates, and a one year contract instead of three years are items that will be up for discussion.
One resident in attendance said better methods should be used for Scott Waste to inform the public of delayed routes and pick ups during inclement weather. Judge Cannon encouraged Scott Waste to contact the Edmonson Voice for quick announcements regarding their routes.
Scott said they would utilize the modern media company, but also asked for people to keep their telephone numbers updated so that in the event of inclement weather customers can be notified by phone if weekly pick up is delayed.
In an ongoing quest to solve the local animal shelter issue, Judge Cannon said he expects at least a temporary contract from BG/WC Humane Society soon. Cannon also discussed EC PAWS, Edmonson County's first attempt at having a non-profit humane society, and the organization was currently taking donations. "In the long run, I'd rather have our own shelter here instead of having it somewhere else."
He also noted that the county is in need of a contract for an animal control officer now. He said he and County Attorney J.B. Hines were still in the process of going through the existing contract language to finalize criteria for a new contract, at least for the animal control officer portion of the agreement.
"We can't just go out here and hire anyone that says they love animals," Cannon said. "They'll have to be certified in euthanasia, trained in tranquilizing, that have to have the proper equipment, and other things similar to these." Cannon said a complete new contract will be written so that there will be no questions as to what is expected from a new officer and shelter.
He also noted the importance of keeping the public interested and involved. "Everybody is interested in these issues when they're new, but when things start dying down, people start forgetting about it. We need to keep everyone interested in this. We have to see that this happens and that the idea of a local human society takes off."
Road Foreman Ray Page, who was not present, sent a written report that described various mowing and paving jobs throughout the county and that several pieces of equipment had broken down. One was a truck with a load of blacktop in the bed. He reported that the entire load of blacktop was lost.
Sheriff Shane Doyle reported on the attempted break in and burglary at the Chris Davis property. He also talked about the woes his office currently has with mechanical troubles. He said he has one car wrecked, a back up car broken down, and another deputy's car in the shop. "I'm not trying to fuss at the fiscal court, but when we're having to buy worn out cars to start with, it's going to cause us to have to spend money to fix them," he said.
Parks and Rec Administrator Greg Hudson reported on a successful Freedom Fest last Friday. He said everything worked very well, lots of folks attended, and the fireworks were great. He thanked all the emergency personnel for coming out in an attempt to make the public more aware of their services.
He also gave a huge thank you to the sponsors involved: SERVPRO, Bank of EC, Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, and Scott Waste, who sponsored the fireworks, and Brownsville Insurance, Judge Wil Cannon, and a private citizen for sponsoring the band. "We used everything on the park that was available," he said. He also plugged the upcoming concerts in the park series.
A report sent by Chamber and Tourism Director Rhonda Clemmons thanked everyone for a successful cookout on the square, and offered a huge thanks to SERVPRO who provided the grill and sponsored the event. She said the Tourism Commission is currently working on a State Fair booth and wil have a 16 page promotional pamphlet to hand out to fair goers.
The court also declined donation of property from Robert Vincent on Nolin Dam Rd, per recommendation of Judge Cannon. "Would cost taxpayers more to maintain it than it would be what property is worth." The property was described as a "small grown up hillside around half an acre." Cannon said the offer from Mr. Vincent was very generous and the court was grateful, however it would be better suited being sold to an adjacent property owner.
In other fiscal court news, the court agreed to:
The County Clerk's Office reported storm damage at the office resulting in a damaged computer that affected their website operation. The office will also be closed this Saturday for July 4th weekend, as well as Monday, July 4.
The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 11th, 2016 at 9am.