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Posted: May 19, 2017 11:41 a.m.

SWMA approves convenience centers and fees

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COVINGTON, Ga. – The Newton County Solid Waste Management Authority approved the five full-service convenience centers and one center for recycling and yard waste only that will remain open after June 30 at its Thursday night meeting.

The centers that will remain open are Adams Circle, Stone Road, Stewart, Piper Road-36 and Oak Hill. Solid Waste Manager Kevin Walter said earlier this month that the five centers were chosen based on geography, giving all county residents access to a center close to them. The five centers will accept household trash, recyclables, bulk waste and yard waste. The fee for the hang tag to use them is $145.

The Bypass center will remain open for yard waste and recyclables only. The fee for that hang tag is $24.

The $145 fee is a $1 increase from the original proposal of $144 for the tag. The increase came after SWMA members Nancy Schulz and Lanier Sims, who are also members of the Board of Commissioners (BOC) expressed concerns about citizen’s ability to pay the fee. Schulz said she has heard from constituents who expressed concerns about paying the entire $144 fee at one time.

“I have received some phone calls from people who are in a fixed income status. Their comment to me was that $144 in one lump sum is very challenging,” she said.

Sims said,” I have the same concerns as Commissioner Schulz. Even with $50, I got phone calls expressing hardship.”

After a lengthy debate that ranged from allowing citizens with a hardship to pay the fee monthly or quarterly, which reportedly would have added to the cost of administering the tags, to cutting the fee for the tag, which would have affected the bottom line, the members decided to add $1.

The extra $1 will go into a special hardship fund to assist people with a proven hardship in paying for the tags. The criteria for who qualifies for a hardship will be determined at a later date.

Walter said the $145 hang tag will allow access to all six centers. The centers will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

The SWMA also approved a new tipping fee for commercial haulers using the landfill. Effective July 1, haulers will be charged $39 a ton to dump trash at the landfill. Private citizens and commercial haulers will pay a base charge $15 for the first 500 pounds of trash dumped. All amounts charged at the landfill will be rounded up to the nearest dollar.

The new fees were approved by a 4-1 vote, with member Sims voting against the proposal.

The effective date for all new fees is July 1.

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