Archived Story

Solid waste district move called business decision

Published 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.”

 

  • Poor Richard

    I agree with any move that eliminates the CAO as receiving part of the funding and having a hand in the hiring process.

    Each year the statewide CAO comes out with an annual report that compiles all the county CAOs within the report – this is not the same ‘mini report’ handed out by the Ironton CAO. The state report indicates spending and funds received from state, federal and county entities to each CAO agency, which includes the amount of funding provided by the county to the Ironton CAO. Most of the Ohio counties do not provide funding to their respective CAOs but that has not been the case in Ironton. In past reports, I have noted more than $4M provided by Lawrence County to the CAO in just one year – not sure for what.

    Could this be a way for county leaders to funnel county funds to be used for pet projects and hiring of friends and relatives? The other thing I found in the reports was the number of properties leased or rented by the CAO and the amounts paid to the property owners. Again, who are these people receiving these funds? Each property should be looked at and the amounts being paid to ??

    The previous CAO director built quite an empire in Ironton, other CAOs within the state that I have visited are not even close to the grandeur or number of employees held in Ironton. Other CAOs simply do their job of receiving state and federal funds and administering the programs those funds were meant for — but not Ironton, they have their hands in everything and most likely are receiving administrative fees or other fees for their ‘so called’ services.

    This is an agency that needs to be ‘picked apart’ by citizens to reveal all of its funding sources and what those funds are being used for.

    (Report comment)

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