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Hall residents may pay more to dump trash
Operating hours at county compactor sites may be cut
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In other business:

Commission Chairman Tom Oliver has asked county finance staff to present options at today's voting session for ways to reopen the county's satellite tag offices.

The commission closed two offices in North and South Hall in mid-August to help the county close an $11.5 million gap in revenues and expenditures without raising taxes.

The closure has increased demand at the downtown office exponentially, resulting in long waits and complaints from residents about downtown parking and handicap accessibility.

It has also resulted in a petition signed by 530 Clermont residents protesting the closure of the North Hall tag office.

Oliver wants to reopen the tag offices immediately. Previously, he has suggested using money from the county's fund balance.

Other commissioners have been reluctant to take on the cost.

The commission's meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Georgia Mountains Center.

Hall County residents will likely pay more to dump their trash in the future and have fewer hours to do so.

The county's Board of Commissioners is set to vote on a proposal by the county's Public Works Department today that would help the department tighten its belt and generate more revenue in a budget year without a lot of wiggle room.

The vote could mean solid waste fees on residents' tax bills will rise by $12.50 next year and would reduce residents' access to county compactor sites.

Already, in an effort to make the solid waste division of the Public Works Department more financially independent, the commission has approved the closure of the Allen Creek compactor site and given county employees direction to negotiate landfill fees with municipalities in the county in order to bring their business back to the landfill.

Public Works Director Ken Rearden said he will meet with officials from Hall's municipalities next week to see if the county can regain their business.

The Allen Creek compactor site will close Sept. 19, saving the county $116,196, according to estimates made by officials in the county's Public Works Department.

But even with the cost savings and the possibility of new revenue from municipal trash, the county's solid waste fund still needs about $568,348 to stand on its own, Rearden told the commission at a work session Wednesday.

Rearden presented multiple options to the board that would help cover the difference with more cuts in spending and increased revenues.

The ones commissioners will vote on today include raising the county's solid waste fee by $12.50 and closing the county landfill at 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

The landfill is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Property owners currently pay $50 on their tax bills each year for solid waste unlike residents of surrounding counties, who pay according to the amount they throw away each year.

The $50 fee hasn't been changed since 1999, Rearden said. Adding $12.50 to the fee could bring in another $606,900 to the solid waste fund.

Commissioner Craig Lutz said Wednesday he is likely to vote against that part of the proposal. However, the remaining three commissioners at Wednesday's work session said they would support it.

Commissioner Ashley Bell is out of the country and will miss today's voting meeting.

The proposal also includes raising the minimum fee at the landfill — a fee charged for any trash dumped at the site that weighs less than 250 pounds — from $5 to $12.50.

"I still think we're the biggest bargain around," said Commissioner Scott Gibbs. "...We haven't had an increase since 1999, and things have gone up a whole lot ... Things have gone up. Fuel's gone up. Equipment's gone up."

The proposal up for a vote today also includes changing the hours of operation at compactor sites.

If approved, the hours from Monday to Saturday would change to 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Currently, compactor sites are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Cutting one hour six days a week will save about $106,142 annually, Rearden said.

The sites will also lose an hour on Sundays and Sunday hours would shift to 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The change to Sunday hours is expected to save the county another $20,000.


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