Herald-Advocate News

County looks at options for waste collections

  • 11 April 2019
  • Author: Dan McNiel
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With the contract for solid waste collection expiring in December, county officials are exploring various options for citizens.
County Administrator Ron Munnerlyn made a presentation at the Marlboro County Council meeting on Tuesday.
He noted council would have to make a decision in what direction they need to go.
State law requires people to take trash to a manned  site or have a roll cart system to collect it from each house.  The issues faced with the roll cart system is the cost and collecting money from people.
Four options were presented.
The first is to have only convenience centers and no roll carts. One additional convenience center would need to be added in the Brightsville area. All centers would be staffed 40 hours a week. 
A fee would be placed on tax bills. 
Munnerlyn said council should consider a small fee for all properties in the county (including towns and cities) to cover the use of the convenience centers for debris, furniture and other materials.
It was noted this would not address the litter issue and many residents have limited transportation to get to centers.
The second option would be to employee a contractor to operating the service, billing and collecting from citizens.  This is the system currently in place.
The current operator charges $20 per month per cart or $240 annually with the company billing the citizens monthly and collecting fees.
The primary advantage of this option is that no county investment would be required to start the system.
But Munnerlyn noted the difficulty in collecting fees, not billed to property owners, because renters change frequently.  Non-payment people end up with no cart.
These issues limit the number of contractors willing to bid for the service.
The third option would have a county-created department to operate the system, bill people and collect the fees.
The cost would be comparable to the current system.
Citizens could be billed with the fee added to property tax bills (just dwellings) or the county would bill citizens and collect monthly. The past due amounts would be collected using the "Set-off debt" program.
Munnerlyn said this would allow everyone to have a cart and address the litter issue. There would possibly be a reduced monthly amount compared to the current system. The collection of fees would not be an issue for the contractor. It would reduce the use of convenience centers.
Some disadvantages would be one payment a year added to the tax bill. If billed monthly, it could cause a significant cash flow issue because the county would have to pay the contractor even if fees are not collected from citizens.
Also additional staff and collection facilities would be needed, along with a large capital investment ($1.3 million) for carts and trucks. 
The final option would be to contract with a company to operate the system but the county would bill citizens, collect fees and then pay the company.
Munnerlyn estimated it would be less than the $20 a month. Fee collection would be the same in option three with the same advantages and disadvantages.
He added it is a complicated issue and something that needs to be discussed in more detail at the budget workshop.

EMS
Council members approved financing terms through First Citizens Bank and Trust Company for capital expenses for the Emergency Medical Services Department. The amount is for $850,000 at 3.01 percent interest rate for five years.
Also approved was the $25,000 purchase of a 2014 single wide mobile home from Marlboro Rescue for the establishment of an EMS station in the Wallace area. This is the current EMS station in that area. The mobile home will be relocated to another property along Highway 9.
Council members approved the purchase of a 2017 Ford ambulance for the EMS department from Marlboro Rescue for $75,000. Munnerlyn said it will be the fifth unit for the EMS department.

Other business
In other business, county council members:
-approved the third reading of ordinance #779  to allow the conveyance of a 50-foot wide easement and lease agreement to Duke Energy Progress LLC;
-approved the third reading of ordinance #780 authorizing the execution of municipal election transfer and costs fee agreement between Marlboro County and the town of McColl;
-approved the first reading, in title only, of ordinance #782 to adopt the annual budget and to make appropriations for Marlboro County for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2020;
-approved the request by Verizon Wireless to construct a 215-foot self-supporting antenna and support structure at 121 Marlboro Road, Bennettsville;
-updated about the County-wide "Clean-Up Day" from 8 a.m.-noon May 4. Groups or individuals interested in participating may call 843-479-5626 or email edevasst@marlborocounty.sc.gov. Participants may pick up supplies and complete their area clean up anytime on Friday, May 3 or Saturday, May 4;
-learned a retirement drop-in is planned for Cindy Deaver from 1-3 p.m. April 12 at the Tax Assessor's Office. Deaver has worked for the county for eight years. Her last day is April 12.

Employee anniversaries
Munnerlyn recognized the following employees with five or more years of service to the county through the month of March: Patricia Bundy, six years; Martha McQuage, 17 years; Luther Brown, 17 years; and Don Driggers, eight years.
 

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