Fiscal Court approves waste mandate

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Easter, Goodman oppose measure

By Marty Finley

Hardin Fiscal Court placed a mandate in writing Tuesday requiring cities to dispose of solid waste at Pearl Hollow Landfill.

The court approved the amendment to the solid waste ordinance, 7-2, with new stipulations.

Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry offered additional language allowing any contract or franchise agreement with another landfill predating the passage of the ordinance to continue until its expiration, at which time the city in question would have to send its waste to Pearl Hollow Landfill.

Berry said the stipulation applies to West Point, which has a contract in place to send at least a portion of its waste to Outer Loop Landfill in Louisville. Elizabethtown, Radcliff, Sonora, Upton and Vine Grove already utilize the county landfill, he said.

Berry said he believes the county landfill is only losing a minimal amount of waste to Outer Loop from West Point and added some of the waste generated in West Point already may be coming to Pearl Hollow Landfill.

Berry said the county wanted to be sensitive to the contract West Point holds. Any extension or modification of the contract also will require the city to contract at the county landfill, Berry said.

State law allows counties to control where waste generated inside its borders is disposed of. Berry said the mandate has been implied for years but the ordinance removes any ambiguity regarding the requirement.

Magistrate E.G. Thompson supported tightening the regulation and clearing up the language. He said if the mandate had been addressed earlier, the issue with West Point would not have surfaced.

Magistrates Roy Easter and Doug Goodman opposed the measure and said they felt the county handled the issue poorly.

Easter said he believes most of the cities and mayors want to work with the county, but city officials were not properly consulted about the ordinance.

“I just think it could have been handled differently, and we should have,” Easter said.

Goodman said cities would be obliged to take their trash to the landfill so long as its fees stay competitive, but the mandate seems excessive.

“I just have a problem dictating where the cities have to take their trash,” Goodman said.

But Magistrate Dwight Morgan said county has a financial requirement to pay for the debt at the landfill and allowing the cities to take their trash elsewhere would put an unfair burden on rural Hardin County.

“Someone has to pay for that landfill,” Morgan said.

Berry said the members of Fiscal Court inherited the debt from the landfill and ignoring the fiduciary responsibilities required in running the landfill would be negligent.

Members of Radcliff City Council, Radcliff Mayor J.J. Duvall and members of Duvall’s administration were in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting and were disappointed in the decision.

Duvall and the council have said they want to work with the county and take their trash to the landfill but do not want to be forced to use it if tipping fees surge or mismanagement occurs.

“It’s almost a monopoly,” Duvall said after the meeting. “I’ll call it a monopoly because that’s what it is.”

Radcliff Councilman Don Shaw said he was disappointed cities did not have more warning to prepare arguments against the ordinance.

“I think we should have had some advance notice that this kind of maxim was to be discussed on Fiscal Court,” he said.

Duvall said he understands the magistrates are looking out for the concerns of the whole county, but the mandate now forces cities to use one landfill no matter what happens in the future.

“I didn’t know the county had turned into a dictatorship,” he said.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.