Issues still looming for commission

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 10, 2003

The Pike County Commission held what County Administrator Harry Sanders called a special &uot;pre-bid conference meeting&uot; Monday afternoon in which the commissioners listened to comments and questions from four companies bidding on the county's solid waste collection contract. The solid waste issue has proven to be one of the most significant challenges facing the county in recent months, with sizable numbers of county residents unwilling or unable to pay the $10 per month collection fee.

Representatives from Sunflower Waste, Arrow Disposal Service, Browning-Ferris Industries and Mark Dunning Industries - the current contract holder - were present at the meeting to discuss the possibilities for the new contract. Currently, the county contracts with MDI to pick up the waste but performs the bill collection and financial end of things. Commissioners have floated various proposals in recent months about how to structure the new contract with some commissioners favoring privatization of the billing process and others preferring to keep the current arrangement.

Several commissioners have expressed concern that leaving the prices of solid waste collection up to the whims of the free market could result in a monthly price hike in solid waste collection fees for Pike County residents. Currently, county residents pay $10 a month to have trash collected.

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The current contract expires in March and the commission will not only have to vote on which company to sign with, but also must confront the customers delinquent on their solid waste bills. The commission has asked county attorney Alan Jones to sue those delinquent customers in civil court, but the suits have stalled as the list of names has been refined and adjusted.

In addition, the county commissioners are considering the possibility of siphoning 25 percent of the one-cent sales tax money allocated to schools. The commissioners agreed Monday night to convene a special work session Feb. 17 at 5:30 at the Pike County Courthouse to discuss the sales tax and the wording of a resolution concerning the funds. County Superintendent Mark Bazzell and Troy City Schools Superintendent Hank Jones will be invited, along with members of the school boards from both systems, to attend the meeting and offer input on the importance of education funding and the possibilities for generating revenue for county coffers. The meeting will be open to the public.

The next regular meeting of the Pike County Commission will be Feb. 24, with a work session at 5:15 and the regular meeting at 6:00.