Hall County’s elected officials will likely move to close one of the county’s trash compactor sites Thursday in an ongoing effort to save the county money.
The site on the chopping block, Allen Creek, is the least-used of all the county’s dump sites, according to Public Works Director Ken Rearden.
The site takes in about 22 tons of trash each month. Rearden says the county can save $116,196 by shutting down the site.
Other sites take in as much as 210 tons of trash per month.
Commissioners had planned to discuss a possible Sunday closure of all compactor sites in the county, but the discussion at Monday’s work session was stopped short by Chairman Tom Oliver who was incredulous at the idea.
Closing on Sundays would save $231,813, but Oliver said the savings would come at the expense of inconvenience for residents whose main government benefit was trash service.
But Commissioner Craig Lutz said the county’s solid waste fund was “upside down” and officials needed to find efficiencies. Though Lutz did not favor closing the sites on Sundays, he said closing them on a low-use day would help the majority of the county. The day with the lowest use, according to county officials, is Wednesday.
“We have an opportunity to try and get this fund so it’s not upside down,” Lutz said.
County staff also said closing the sites on Sunday would address problems with overtime costs in the department, whereas closing the sites on a Wednesday would not.
But Oliver did not relent, calling the idea to close all the sites once a week, no matter the day, “insane.”
“I think this is one of the worst proposals I’ve ever seen out of the commission, and this is my 11th year here,” Oliver said. “...If you close it, I want the signs to say ‘these commissioners closed this (compactor site) one day a week. Because I dadgum sure I don’t want my name on that.”
Commissioner Ashley Bell said he’d like to see more options from county staff before making a decision on other proposals for saving money in the solid waste division.
Specifically, Bell said he wanted to gauge the community’s reaction to the proposal to close the sites.
But Bell said the proposal to close Allen Creek should move forward immediately. Other commissioners agreed.
“Every day that we don’t do something we’re wasting money,” Bell said.
Rearden also presented a proposal Monday to shorten hours at the landfill for a half a day, which would save about $100,000 a year, as well as a proposal to raise fees at the landfill.
Raising tipping fees at the landfill by $10 could bring in as much as $482,500 for the department, Rearden said.
At the end of the conversation, commissioners only agreed to move forward with the closure of the Allen Creek site. They will continue to consider shortened hours at remaining compactor sites and higher fees for garbage disposal, however.
If approved Thursday, the Allen Creek site would close Sept. 19.
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.