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Ask the Times: Non-county residents turned away from compactor sites
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If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get answers. The following questions were submitted by readers and answered through the efforts of our news staff.

Non-Hall County residents aren’t supposed to be able to use county compactor sites, but how is that enforced?

Hall County spokeswoman Nikki Young said unincorporated county property owners pay a solid waste assessment fee on their property tax bill, which qualifies them to use compactor sites.

Site attendants check vehicles for a Hall County tag, according to Solid Waste Director Cary Lawler. If a site attendant sees an out-of-county or out-of-state tag, he or she will require proof of residency, which may include a utility bill.

We have heard a lot about what the extra funds generated by the additional 1 cent sales tax will do but we haven’t heard much about what our current taxes are doing. So how much of our income is going to fund the current yearly budget of the Georgia Department of Transportation and is it being spent wisely now? Also what are the yearly salaries of the top departmental heads of this agency?

According to the amended fiscal 2012 budget for the Georgia Department of Transportation, the department received almost $6.6 million in general fund dollars from the state. In fiscal 2009, that number was $24.3 million.

Some $2.9 million of the 2012 total was spent on transit. Another almost $2.7 million was spent on airport aid.

The rest went to ports and rail.

The total state motor fuel budget for fiscal 2012 was about $934 million. Those funds are broken down as follows:

- Debt service: 30 percent, about $280 million
- Capital projects: 27 percent, about $251 million
- Local Maintenance Improvement Grants, which are given from DOT to cities and counties: 11 percent, about $101 million
- Routine maintenance: 20 percent, about $185 million
- General operations: 12 percent, about $118 million

The total state motor fuel budget set for fiscal 2013 is about $970 million.

- Debt service: 27 percent, about $255 million
- Capital projects: 33 percent, about $322 million
- LMIG: 10 percent, about $101 million
- Maintenance: 18 percent, about $173 million
- General operations: 12 percent, about $119 million

The top five salaries at the Georgia Department of Transportation, as reported for 2011, are as follows:

- Commissioner Vance Smith, $182,503.92
- Chief Engineer Gerald Ross, $175,000.08
- Division Director Sandra Burgess, $162,000
- Chief Acquisition Officer Richard Sawyer, $148,000.08
- Director Todd Long, $145,278.93

Salaries for any employee of Georgia DOT, and other state departments, can be found at

DOT spokeswoman Teri Pope noted that statewide staffing in fiscal 2012 was 4,500. It was 6,300 in fiscal 2007.

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