Property fee would help clean county
Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2005
You do not get something for nothing, and Lawrence and Scioto county residents may learn that the hard way as they trade $12 a year for cleaner counties.
The EPA mandates that every solid waste management district have a plan, which acts as a blueprint for the district said Doug Cade, manager of E.L. Robinson's Ironton office.
"The solid waste management plan outlines what the district is going to do over the next 20 years in terms of education, reducing the amount of solid waste that goes to a landfill," Cade said. "Recycling, enforcement, illegal dumpingŠall that."
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Although the EPA mandates that a plan be in place, the agency does not allot funding for the plan.
As a result, the district for Lawrence and Scioto counties had never adopted a plan, which the EPA and the district began attempting to correct in the late 1990s.
A plan was drafted, but had no visible source of funding. Cade and Chuck Yaniko, coordinator of the Lawrence-Scioto County Solid Waste Management District, suggested contracting with landfills and collecting fees.
But this was rejected because of the difficulty of enforcing those charges on out-of-state landfills, which currently collects around 70 percent of the waste generated by Lawrence and Scioto counties.
The EPA had another solution: A law passed in April as part of the allows waste management districts to collect parcel assessments to implement their plan.
Yaniko said the additional assessment would only have been installed as a last resort, but that's the situation in Lawrence County.
"It was really the only option," Yaniko said.
The plan was analyzed to figure the annual cost to implement it. Cade said the plan was designed to do the "bare minimum" for compliance in order to keep the tax burden low.
A similar plan is currently being used in 49 of the 52 waste management districts in Ohio and will have to be approved by both the Lawrence and Scioto county commissioners.
What the organizations has found was that a charge of $1 per parcel per month would be enough to make the plan stick.
The new assessment has plenty of exemptions, chiefly that only improved parcels will be charged. That means that homeowners will pay an extra $12 a year for the land their home is on, but if they also own land without a structure on it, the property will be exempt.
Some land, such as government or city buildings, schools, or any building that does not pay property taxes, will also be exempt from the charge.
Although Cade said he didn't have an exact number, Cade said he believed around $600,000 could be generated per year, which would triple the two-county district's $300,000 operating budget.
Cade and Yaniko said they are not asking for something for nothing for the assessment. Yaniko said he'd be able to provide many new services such as increasing the number of permanent recycling sites by more than 25, with three in Ironton alone.
Three public hearings will be hosted - 8:30 a.m. July 26 at the Lawrence County Commissioners Office, 11 a.m. July 26 at the Scioto County Job and Family Services, 710 Court Street, 1st Floor Conference Room, Portsmouth and at
6 p.m. July 28 at the Hamilton
Township Fire Station, 1671 County Road 1A, Ironton.
Solid Waste Management District Board shall accept testimony from anyone
who wishes to testify. Written testimony will be accepted no later than Aug. 5 and can be submitted
to the Lawrence – Scioto Waste District, 305 N. 5th St., Ironton, Ohio 45638.
Though the possibility of cleaner Lawrence and Scioto counties is exciting, Cade said the consequences could be serious should the plan fail to be accepted.
"What we don't want to happen, we can't afford to have happen, is to end up getting fines from the Ohio EPA and then still having to implement a plan," Cade said. "Because all we're doing then is paying the state several thousand dollars that could be used to employ people right here in our county."
Yaniko said he is excited about the improvements his office will be able to offer, but he is frustrated that he has to implement the fee.
"Nobody wants to do it," Yaniko said. "Although we don't like it, it's the way things are funded all throughout the state."