Solid waste district move called business decisionPublished 10:17am Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Turning the Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste District into an independent agency was purely a business decision, said Scioto County Commissioner Tom Reiser.
Since the late 1990s the solid waste district has been operated by the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization.
That changed on Thursday at a special meeting of the solid waste district board.
Reiser attended that meeting along with Lawrence County Commissioners Les Boggs and Freddie Hayes and Scioto commissioner Skip Riffe. The board is made up of the three commissioners from Scioto and Lawrence counties. All four voted in favor of the move.
“In reviewing all the finances of the organization we came to the conclusion that we have reached a level of maturity that we can stand alone,” Reiser said on Monday. “Up until now all of the employees of the solid waste were really employees of the CAO. We were on a contract basis with the CAO.”
The majority of the district’s annual revenue comes from the $1 a month parcel fee all property owners in Lawrence and Scioto counties pay on their property taxes.
This year that revenue came in at $640,919. The district also receives grants that are used toward their programs, which include the Lawrence County Cleanup Day in May; the drug takeback; household hazardous waste collection; education in schools and litter enforcement.
Out of that budget the district had a $385,000 contract with the CAO from which salaries and program expenses were paid. The CAO was paid an administrative fee of approximately $18,000 to handle the payroll and accounting for the district that is made up of four employees, including its director Dan Palmer.
Now Scioto County will be the district’s fiscal agent with its headquarters in Ironton. All four employees will now be under Scioto County and receive county benefits and state retirement.
“They will be treated as Scioto County employees but the actual hiring authority of the solid waste district is up to the solid waste board,” Reiser said. “We paid the CAO a fee to be the fiscal agent. We paid to provide services. We have not had direct authority over the employees and a lot of the fiscal situation. By doing this we have hiring and firing authority over the employees.”
The CAO took over the solid waste district after it had been fined by the Ohio EPA for among other things not having an environmental plan. That was provided by the CAO after it took over the district.
“The CAO has been great,” Reiser said. “This is not vindictive or something like that. We would rank (the district) very high, have made tremendous progress over the last 12 years. The district is being held as a positive example. We are proud of where we have gone, proud of the programs. Dan has a lot to do with that.”