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Grayson dumps trash site

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By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

INDEPENDENCE — In an effort to save money during tough economic times, Grayson County has opted to close a public-access Dumpster site at its Public Works Department just north of Independence.

The county arrived at the decision, according to County Administrator Jonathan Sweet, not only as a way to save the county money, but also because of safety issues.

"The difficult decision was based on a variety of reasons involving cost control and safety," Sweet said in an e-mail. "We were experiencing a tremendous amount of dumping at the site from folks inside and out of Grayson County."

The problem, however was that the Dumpster was being filled with what Sweet said was "excessive amounts" of construction waste, yard waste, tires and other items the county does not accept in its curb-side collection.

"These items, along with an excessive amount of household trash, was requiring the county to pay employees to come in on weekends to dump the containers to prevent overflow, etc.," Sweet continued. "It was costing the Public Works Department a considerable amount of unbudgeted dollars and increases our overall expense to provide trash service due to labor costs, costs of tipping fees and the cost of extra fuel to and from the landfill."

Additionally, the county was having to pay extra for disposal of the tires and other undesirable items that can't go in the landfill.

"The county was also experiencing theft and vandalism on the premises, as we have allowed unfettered access to the facility from anyone wishing to enter," Sweet said. "Lastly, there is a large liability issue that we are trying to reduce."

Citizens and visitors from outside the county are at what Sweet said was a "high risk of injury" while unloading, dumping and rummaging.

"Restricting access greatly reduces the risk of injury and reduces the county's liability associated with open access. The aggregate of these reasons will pay dividends to help keep the costs of curb-side trash collection low."

While the closure may be an inconvenience to the residents, the county will look to save around $50,578 — including monthly costs of  $2,400 in tipping fees, $728 in labor and $1,087.80 in fuel, totaling $4,214.80 a month.

Sweet cited the Financial Threat Plan he released last month and noted that this executive decision is a perfect example of Point 5 — to look internally for opportunities to take cost-saving measures to reduce expenses and/or increase revenues.

The county does plan to look into other options, including securing part-time labor from a stimulus program administered through Goodwill Industries, Inc. that could potentially provide the department with personnel to man the station during a portion of the weekly office hours.

"If successful, we will then look at the potential of providing a window of opportunity for those Grayson citizens to whom these services are vital," Sweet said.