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New fee trashes town's budget

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By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

INDEPENDENCE ee* After agreeing to continue trash collection service with Grayson County, the Town of Independence faces nearly a $13,000 deficit to make up in the 2009-10 budget.

Town council agreed unanimously last Tuesday to approve the same contract that the board of supervisors approved last week.Vice Mayor Tom Maxwell and Council Member Ronald Sexton were absent at the vote.

The contract calls for Independence to pay the county $5,247.67 monthly, or $62,972 a year ee* a $26,972 increase in the town’s expenses.

Fortunately, the town won’t have to make up the entire amount, as it had roughly $14,000 in its budget for recycling ee* something the county will handle in the new contract.

Town Manager Kenneth Vaught said that with the additional $14,000 savings in recycling costs, the town will look to make up roughly $13,000.

“We’re looking for money,” he said.

Council did not discuss the budget matter at its Tuesday meeting, and Vaught said the deficit wouldn’t actually hit until February or March of next year.

Grayson County Administrator Jonathan Sweet was pleased to learn that Independence signed the agreement and told The Gazette that such collaborations and partnerships between towns and counties are what help communities overcome challenges, prosper and grow.

“We are elated to have received confirmation of council’s decision and are confident that this is the right approach and will be mutually rewarding to both the town and county,” Sweet said. “We are eager to get started.”

In the trash agreement, Independence mandated that Grayson place a dumpster of not less than eight cubic yards at the town’s facilities on U.S. 21 North, and that weekly it collect, transport and dispose of all waste placed in the dumpster.

The town also required the county to collect, operate and maintain a recycling effort for Independence in accordance and consistent with the Grayson splid waste ordinance.

The agreement ended a four-month process in which Independence sought proposals from other waste removal companies after being notified of the increase. The original proposed amount for Independence was $64,000 ee* a 78 percent increase.

While county residents will pay the $3 weekly fee twice a year with their taxes, the town will pay the county directly. Fries will also pay the county monthly, but its residents will continue to pay $12.75 a month to the town.