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County will buy building for solid waste district

The Harrison County Commissioners got the go-ahead Monday night to purchase a building adjacent to the Harrison County Industrial Park for the solid waste district.
The council approved spending $125,000 from an earlier appropriation of $250,000 toward the purchase of land for county uses.
Councilman Ralph Sherman’s motion, seconded by Chris Timberlake, passed 4-2 (a two-thirds majority) with the chair, Gary Davis, casting the deciding vote along with Councilwoman Rhonda Rhoads. Councilmen Carl (Buck) Mathes and Alvin Brown were opposed.
Purchasing a building will ultimately result in better service to residents, Commissioner James Goldman told the council.
‘The goal is to improve services by changing the way we do solid waste,’ he said.
As it now stands, staffing recycling centers and picking up and delivering the goods to the center in New Albany is far too costly, Goldman said. Also, the district can provide limited pickup yearly for items that are costly or difficult to dispose of, such as appliances, tires or batteries.
With a building capable of storing large amounts that can be compacted and then delivered to recycling centers in bulk, the district can see a greater financial return on the goods. That will also improve service to residents, who often have nowhere to dispose of such items, said district director Anna Morris. ‘Used oil is becoming a huge problem,’ she said. ‘Places have quit taking it.
‘We can expand our services a great deal,’ said Morris. ‘We could take in basically anything that’s brought in.’
The district could eventually allow persons who live in areas that are inaccessible to large garbage trucks to dispose of bags of refuse at the district station.
The expanded services are especially needed in light of the increase in materials that will be banned from landfills, such as heavy metals.
The operation wouldn’t likely support itself, but it could be run for about the same as now, which requires about $215,000 yearly in property taxes (that takes about 1-1/2 cents per $100 in property values on tax bills).
The commissioners are also lobbying for funds to purchase an adjoining 76 acres, to use a small part of the land for a new highway garage and the balance for development.
Goldman told the council the commissioners will refine the project and return with more details.