Hall County Board of Commissioners work session
When: 3 p.m. today
Where: 2nd floor commission meeting room, Courthouse Annex 116 Spring St. SE, Gainesville
The Hall County Board of Commissioners may be addressing trash issues again at today's work session, including whether to reduce hours at compactor sites.
Public Works Director Ken Rearden is proposing closing compactor sites on Sundays and some holidays as well as permanently closing the Allen Creek compactor site, which sees little use compared to other locations, he said.
The county's 13 sites are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Closing on Sundays would save $231,813.
"The lowest (visitation) day seems to be Wednesday, but operationally it's difficult to have Wednesday be the day off," Rearden said. "So were suggesting Sunday, and if the commission wants it to be Wednesday then we'll make it work." He expects a lot of debate on the issue, though.
Hall County Chairman Tom Oliver called shutting the compactor site down one day a week "insane."
"That makes no sense whatsoever. And I'm against that, and hopefully that will come out," he said Friday.
Commissioner Scott Gibbs also was not in favor Friday of closing one day a week, saying he would prefer shorter hours instead.
Commissioners also, though, approved in mid-July sending a request for proposal to hear the ideas of private companies on managing the county's trash.
That request has not yet been sent, Rearden said.
Public Works decided in late July to throw its hat in the ring.
"I'm interested in hearing anything at this point," Gibbs said. "I like it being with the county because at the end of the day the commission, whether I'm there or whoever's there, always has the final say over what is done. Changes of one sort or another are likely, though, as Rearden said the landfill, compactor sites and resource recovery have been losing about $500,000 a year. The department's overall budget is $5.5 million.
Closing the sites along with the landfill on additional holidays — including Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and New Year's Day — would save $37,326.
Closing the Allen Creek site would save $116,196.
"We've been talking about the Allen Creek site for about two years now, how to do that," Rearden said. "It's just not good business to operate a site that's not really productive. So, we are excited about this, actually, to see if the commission would go along with us on utilizing and saving operational costs."
The site typically gets 22 tons of trash a month, compared to 80 tons at the next-lowest-use location and 210 tons a month at heavy-use sites, Rearden said.
The move would not result in any layoffs, he said, but would likely mean fewer hours for part-time employees.
Nearby compactor sites that would still be available include the Candler site at 5064 Poplar Spring Road, the Tadmore site at 3320 Holly Springs Road and the East Crescent Drive site at 734 East Crescent Drive in Gainesville.
Another measure Public Works hopes to work out is luring some municipal users back to the county landfill. Gainesville and Oakwood stopped using the county's landfill a couple of years ago when a transfer station offering lower dumping fees opened up near the airport, Rearden said. It cost the county $190,000 in lost revenue.
Rearden hopes to get that back by negotiating with those users to offer them a lower rate.
Rearden's proposal also includes raising the yearly charge for trash services by $10. Residents in unincorporated Hall currently pay $50 for the services.
"We haven't been able to raise fees or anything in quite some time; 1999 is when the last solid waste assessment fee was done," Rearden said. "So we think it's good business sense to at least consider these things."
The issue is on the agenda for Monday's work session, set for 3 p.m. in the second floor commission meeting room at the Courthouse Annex, 116 Spring St. SE, Gainesville.