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Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste Management District defends services

Ironton mayor upset over clean-up day cancellation

Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste Management District (LSSWMD) Director Dan Palmer defended the district’s decision to cancel the Lawrence Countywide cleanup this year, as well as the services the district provides to Ironton, following a recent letter written by Ironton Mayor Katrina Keith to the Lawrence County Commission.

“I am writing this letter in regards to the Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste Management District’s recent decision to cancel this year’s annual Clean-Up Day. The event, originally started in Ironton, was an opportunity for all civic clubs, residents, schools and business leaders to come together and support the city through acts of volunteerism. Our community has supported this event for more than 20 years,” Keith’s letter states.“Each year, the city of Ironton utilizes the SWMD’s grant funding program ($1K) to purchase mulch and flowers for our tree boxes. In addition, we utilize the equipment trailer to aid in the removal of weeds and trash along our downtown business district.”

Palmer said that the decision to cancel this year’s countywide cleanup day came after several townships informed him that the day was not going to work this year.

“We’ve been running this countywide cleanup day since 2006, and it’s always held on the first Saturday in May. We average about 50-55 groups annually all over the county,” Palmer said. “We sent this year’s letters out to all of the previous year’s participants in February. I then got a call from a Fayette Township trustee who said that day wasn’t going to work, and then another call from Rome Township about the same thing. After several calls about the date, we decided that we weren’t going to have the countywide cleanup day, and that everyone could have their own when they can.”

Regarding the $1,000 grant available, Palmer said that he did not deny anyone of the grant, and that the program is still ongoing.

“I sent that letter out about the grant opportunity in January,” he said. “That is still available for Ironton and all of the villages and townships in the county.”

In the letter about the grant, in order to receive the $1,000, a letter stating when the entity’s cleanup day and where it will take place, results of the cleanup day, copies of total expenditures and that it was available to all who live there, need to be provided to the district no later than Dec. 1, 2018.

“It’s not just for the countywide cleanup day,” Palmer said. “They can use that whenever they have a cleanup day.”

Another topic Keith addressed in her letter was about the dumpsters used for cleanup day.

“Last year, we were told the board decided the dumpsters we had received the prior year were going to be rotated throughout the county and Ironton could not benefit from this SWMD service until the rotation was complete,” the letter states.
Palmer said that the district does not provide all of the roll off containers used for cleanup day throughout the county, and that although those are rotated, all of the other villages and townships pay for their own roll off containers.

“Everyone else always purchases their own roll off containers,” Palmer said. “Rome Township has purchased up to 30 containers before. We are not going to always purchase these things for Ironton.”

Keith also requested a list of services provided to the residents of Ironton by the solid waste district in her letter.

“Ironton, along with the residents of Lawrence County, pay taxes to support this well needed organization,” her letter states. “I would like to officially request a list of services that are actually being provided to the residents of Ironton, Ohio through the Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste Management District.”

Palmer said the accusation that the district doesn’t provide for the residents of Ironton is “totally false,” adding several things that the district has for the city.

“We have our pharmaceutical take back event here at Ironton Hills Plaza, we have an E-waste and shred day in Ironton. I know those are things available to everyone in the county, but we do have them here in Ironton. I can very easily move those things to the eastern end of the county,” Palmer said. “In addition, we have an Earth Day event that we do each year with the students at Open Door School, the district provided free recycling to every office in the Ironton City Center, which is picked up weekly that the district pays for, and there are three recycling locations in Ironton. We also provide cardboard recycling containers for numerous outdoor events.”

Palmer also added that on more than one occasion, events that were hosted in Ironton were not at secure locations, and there was little to no cooperation with the city.

One other thing that Keith took issue with in her letter was that Ironton Police Chief Pam Wagner had continually asked Palmer to look at old electronic equipment to get rid of, which she said Wagner had not gotten a response back.

“That day, we collected old computer equipment from Dawson-Bryant schools, Ohio University Southern and the sheriff’s office. We then went to the police department, and the dispatcher said that Chief Wagner was out for a couple of days, but to let her know that we were here,” Palmer said. “It offends me that someone could make all of these allegations against the district without even knowing the facts. And the district is not just for the city of Ironton, it’s for the whole district, which covers two whole counties.”