Much ado about waste

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Editorial: Jan. 18, 2012

ISSUE: Trash showdown possible
OUR VIEW: Looking for compromise

In considering an ordinance that strengthens language about the destination of trash and refuge created in Hardin County, Fiscal Court is protecting the financial integrity of the Pearl Hollow Landfill.

It’s a business decision in essence.

In exploring options with trash haulers about taking advantage of reduced tipping fees at a southern Jefferson County dump site, Radcliff city government is trying to address the cost of residential and business collection in its community.

In essence, it’s another business decision.

And the two decisions may be headed toward a collision.

The county’s ordinance, which awaits second reading and a vote, seeks to clarify language that requires all trash generated inside the county be taken to Pearl Hollow Landfill.

Pointing to state law, Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry said the county controls where trash can be transported. The county simply wants to be sure that its implied mandate is explicitly stated.

Much like some local officials hope the state legislature removes any ambiguity regarding how votes would be counted in a governmental unification referendum, Berry said Fiscal Court is being asked to fix the language to eliminate any possibility of misunderstanding.

Two magistrates representing districts in the north end of the county raised questions at last week’s meeting. Radcliff Mayor J.J. Duvall said a mandate could place a burden on Radcliff taxpayers, largely because it would prohibit the city from transporting its waste north to Outer Loop Landfill even if it was more cost effective.

Berry contends that any money saved by utilizing another landfill in the short term would be lost in the long term because the county would lose volume. Fixed costs of the landfill are covered by fees related to trash volume. A significant reduction like losing Radcliff could create a financial hardship.

It’s important for governmental leaders to protect the best interests of their constituents and make wise business choices. Debating the priorities here without all the component factors in hand just adds to our local trash pile.

The best answer likely exists in compromise. But as seen in a previous dispute regarding placement of recycling trailers, sometimes that option cannot be found.

As this entire community strives to move forward together, let’s hope cool heads and conversation help us get beyond disputes about refuse and waste.

Can we find something beside trash to talk about?

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.