The Solid Waste Committee met on June 28 in the Chancery Courtroom of the McNairy County Courthouse.
Steve Beavers opened the meeting proper with the announcement that, beginning in May, Waste Connections of Mississipi had increased the residential cost of garbage collection from $8.45 per unit to $8.67 per unit–a 2.62% price increase–which raises the total monthly cost from $57,460 to $58,956.
Beavers added that, due to CPI fluctuation, consumer rates have increased from $12.67 to $13.22 to cover administrative costs; he opened to consideration a further adjustment to $15.00.
Michelle Kientz raised concerns with both amounts, believing that $13.22 would prove difficult for billing calculations, but that $15.00 would prove too drastic an increase; she proposed a compromise of $13.25. The topic was eventually postponed for later deliberation.
Phillip Hollingsworth raised questions about tipping fees and recycling. Beavers recalled $16,400 as the last estimate for tipping fees, with a collection rate of 71.127; he cited home repairs during quarantine as the determining variable for the rate.
For recycling prices, Beavers noted that cardboard has increased from $80.85 to $90.00 per ton and that commodities have decreased from $50.00 to $35.00 per ton, as dictated by the West Tennessee Regional Recycling Hub.
Beavers announced the approval of the first draft Regional Solid Waste and Materials Management Plan. Aubrey Harris motioned successfully to present the planning grant to a full commission for approval.
Beavers and Mayor Smith then elaborated upon the financial assessments of the landfills following the Class I landfill’s closure. Beavers highlighted the need to abandon two untested wells on the Class I landfill within 25 days of inspection. Anthony Carr explained that wells not tested consistently could prove unsanitary if they were leak radio flow into the water supply.
Beavers delivered an update on property sales, stating that letters had been mailed out on May 28. He explained that the sales may require foreclosures on the properties, but he was unsure whether or not they would be auctioned off.
Beavers alerted members of the recycling trailer behind Michie Elementary being used for garbage drop-off. Smith acknowledged that school employees use the trailer for school garbage, but that it could be relocated if all responsible parties assented.
Beavers announced the Solid Waste Department’s new capability to process credit cards at $2.95 per transaction on a quarterly bill; if the transaction reaches $400.00 or above, the rate decreases to 2.75%. Kientz raised concerns about the current contract with the card company, but admitted that some citizens may utilize the service as is.
Beavers spoke briefly regarding scheduled maintenance on the Recycling Center’s vehicles and other equipment. Smith emphasized the need for a single-phase instead of a three-phase maintenance. Kientz suggested to apply COVID-19 funds toward maintenance, but Smith doubted that restrictions on the funds would allow this. Carr attested that the comptroller must approve funding for the project.
Beavers addressed litter pick-up, stating that the project could be allocated to prison workers, although they are only able to clean state routes. Carr made a successful motion to draft a Letter of Request on behalf of the full commission for prison workers to clean state roads in the county.
Beavers presented a contract with Southwest Tennessee Development District to pay $4,300.00 for solid waste planning and reporting services.
Discussion arose surrounding the feasability of an updated house count. Hollingsworth insisted that the county requires a baseline estimate of the number of homeowners currently being billed for trash pick-up.
“If you don’t do some kind of house count, you’re not going to have the integrity of trying to have an increase in the rate. If you don’t do a house count, you’re not going to convice people that there is any authenticity,” contended Hollingsworth.
Questions were raised about the time and finances required for a count and its accuracy as the number of homeowners fluctuates. General consensus arose around the idea of hiring an individual whose primary job was to compile a house count.
No definite compromise was reached, but the committee agreed to further deliberate the issue at ongoing meetings.