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Grayson finds trash solution

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By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

INDEPENDENCE — Holding true to a promise to find an alternative to a public-access Dumpster site at its Public Works Department, Grayson County has found a solution.

County Administrator Jonathan Sweet said the county is now accepting household trash on Fridays and Saturdays in the Guynn Shopping Center.

Sweet said the trash collection will be in conjunction with the county's recycling operation and will be at no additional cost to the tax payers.

The truck will be manned by a Public Works employee and residents hoping to dump trash will be required to show a proof of residence — which can be as simple as a tax ticket and/or a county sticker, Sweet said.

Along with the proof of residence, Sweet said those bringing trash are held to the same standards of a household limit.

In other words, residents can't dump any more trash than they could put at their curb-side for pickup. This requirement keeps people from collecting trash from cross-county residents and dumping it for free in Independence.

Public Works Director Jonathan Luper further clarified the concept of household trash.

"That means only three to four bags," Luper told The Gazette. "There can't be refrigerators, cabinets and so forth... it can only be household garbage."

Luper reminded residents of the curb-side pick-up maximum, as well, which is currently four 32-galloon cans, which can weigh no more than 40 pounds each. If the trash bags are not in cans, residents can place a maximum of four bags at the curb.

In terms of the recycling — which the county took over from the Town of Independence as part of the trash collection agreement — Luper said residents can bring cardboard, newspapers, magazines and plastic bottles to be recycled.

Hopes are to eventually expand the recycling services to the entire county, and Luper said the department has a vision to become more of a two-fold service — trash collection and recycling.

"This effort should decrease the amount of recyclables entering our landfill," he said.

Along with the Friday and Saturday opportunity to recycle, the Public Works Department has also set up collection days throughout the county.

On the first Saturday of the month, recycling will be collected at Mount Rogers School (8:30-9:30 a.m.), Osborne's Store (9:30-10 a.m.), Hoffman's Store (10:30-10:45 a.m.), Russell's Store (11-11:30 a.m.) and Cox's Chapel Grange (noon-12:30 p.m.).

On the second Saturday of each month, recycling will be collected at Carsonville Store (9:30-10 a.m.), Providence Elementary (11-11:30 a.m.) and the former Elk Creek Elementary building (noon-12:45 p.m.).

In October, the county opted to close a public-access Dumpster site at its Public Works Department just north of Independence.

Sweet cited an effort to save money and address safety issues.

Previously, the Dumpster was accessible 24/7 and 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 trash, was requiring the county to pay employees to come in on weekends to dump the containers to prevent overflow," Sweet said of the closure. "It was costing the Public Works Department a considerable amount of unbudgeted dollars and increases our overall expenses to provide trash service due to labor costs, costs of tipping fees and the cost of extra fuel to and from the landfill."

The closure saved the county around $50,578 and Sweet said the administration looked internally for an opportunity to take cost-saving measures to reduce expenses and/or increase revenues, while at the same time continue to offer a service for residents needing access to a Dumpster.

• The trash collection site is open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and is located in the Guynn Shopping Center in Independence. For more information, contact the Public Works Department at (276) 773-3181.