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Solid waste fee focus of hearing

A proposal to implement a $12-a-year solid waste fee to pay for a litter control program for Lawrence and Scioto counties is the focus of a public hearing at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Hamilton Township Volunteer Fire Department.

The public hearing will be hosted by the Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste District. It is the third and last in a series of three meetings to allow local officials a chance to explain the solid waste fee and to give residents a chance to express their opinions.

Several years ago, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency mandated that solid waste districts throughout the state implement a program that tackles such issues as litter control and the reduction of the amount of waste going into landfills.

"This should have been in place in 1992 when the county was put under findings and orders (from the OEPA) for not meeting the state plan," Yaniko said. "We were looking at paying $250,000 in fines and negotiated that down to $7,800. This is the cheapest way to do what we've got to do."

The proposed fee would levy $1 per month for each improved parcel of land. Schools, churches and other exempt properties would pay nothing. The fee would generate $643,457.02 annually.

The rest of the proposed $756,657 budget would likely come from grants, Yaniko said. The money would fund litter control and litter education programs as well as a full-time litter enforcement officer.

Doug Cade, of E.L. Robinson Engineering, said while no one may enjoy paying a new fee, there is no choice in the matter. A plan of some variation is mandated by the state and the Lawrence-Scioto proposal meets minimum state requirements, he said.

"We're better off implementing the minimum plan than pay the EPA substantial fees and then have to implement a plan and pay for it," Cade said.

The first two public hearings were Tuesday, one at the Lawrence County Courthouse and one in Scioto County.