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Hall County wants to cut down on trash freeloaders
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Deas Froyan unloads bags of trash at the East Crescent Drive compactor site. The Hall County Board of Commissioners is looking at ways to reduce out-of-county garbage. - photo by Tom Reed

Hall County is looking for ways to cut down on out-of-county trash at its compactor sites.

The Board of Commissioners discussed the issue at Wednesday’s work session after Solid Waste Manager Cary Lawler presented a possible solution to the problem.

Lawler said Solid Waste officials have no way of knowing how much of the 2,200 to 2,400 tons of waste dumped in compactor sites each year comes from out-of-county dumpers.

“At this point, our system does not have any definitive controls in place to determine that,” Lawler said. “Since their inception over 20 years ago, our compactor sites have struggled with ways to combat it.”

Currently, site attendants can check driver’s licenses, though it is not necessarily an effective way to determine if people are paying Hall County residents, Lawler said.

Unincorporated Hall County residents pay a $50 fee each year that provides them with access to the county’s 13 compactor sites.

Unauthorized users create additional costs for the Solid Waste Department.

“They not only impact our operational costs but have a significant impact on the longevity of our landfill as well,” Lawler said.

Lawler said because Hall County is a regional hub, the compactor sites are convenient for many who live outside the county.

“You’d be amazed how much that happens, especially those sites on the fringe of the outlying counties,” Lawler said. “(Ga.) 365 is a main thoroughfare. A lot of these surrounding counties, Gainesville is where they do their business.”

Lawler suggested creating a hanging tag that drivers could place on their rearview mirrors to let county officials know they have paid their assessment fees.

He suggested the tags be color-coded so compactor site attendants could quickly verify residents.

He also suggested imposing a bag limit that would allow people and businesses to dump 12 bags of garbage per day.

He said similar systems were effective in New Jersey townships. One town saved $10,000 in six months by reducing the amount of loads taken to the landfill, he said.

But Chairman Tom Oliver wasn’t pleased with the idea.

“I just see it as more bureaucracy,” Oliver said. “The last thing I want is more government in our lives.”

The commission agreed to brainstorm and discuss the issue again.

In other business, the board planned to discuss at today’s meeting whether to ask voters if they would prefer biannual tax collections. The board meets at 5 p.m. today at the Georgia Mountains Center, 301 Main St., Gainesville.

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