Commissioners J.C. Henderson and Tim Fleming said the recycling centers should not be closed during so many holidays, because $18,091 in savings is not worth the inconvenience to county residents.
The county instituted 15 unpaid holidays to help reduce the original $8.6 million FY 2010 budget deficit and those holidays were also applied to the recycling centers and landfill, as well as reduced hours of operation. The centers have always been closed on the major holidays, but this year a handful of smaller holidays were added.
Fleming and Henderson said they didn’t realize the extra holidays would apply to the centers and they said they had received several constituent questions and complaints about the reduced schedule. They both agreed that $18,000 was not worth the inconvenience to citizens.
"I got a lot of calls from constituents who said they couldn’t believe the recycling centers were closed those days … I was surprised that we’re only saving $18,000," Fleming said.
However, the $18,091 applies only to the centers; closing the landfill during those extra holidays saves an extra $35,040, according to information provided by County Administrative Officer John Middleton.
Fleming said closing the centers on holidays was not necessarily justified since they are not on a normal county schedule, because they are open on Saturday and Sundays. Henderson agreed and said that the centers are more helpful when they are open on the days residents are normally off.
"I feel like the service we have is there so when citizens are off they can drop off their recyclables," Henderson said.
In particular Fleming said he was concerned about the centers being closed on the days after Christmas, because of those are some of the biggest trash days of the year.
Middleton said county officials have had some discussion about possibly moving the holiday after Christmas to another day, especially because the New Year’s Day holiday is also that next week.
The county is changing expanding the hours of operation for the majority of recycling centers on Tuesday and Thursday, moving the opening time from 9 a.m. to 7 a.m. The closing time for centers will remain 7 p.m.
Connie Waller, Director of Keep Covington-Newton Beautiful, said her organization carried out an intense awareness campaign to let residents know that all centers would be closed this past Monday for Sgt. John Newton Day. She said she was happy to report that no bags of trash or recyclables were left in front of the centers.
Laurie Riley, KCNB Program Education Specialist, said she and KCNB have not heard many complaints about the changed hours or added holidays.
Henderson said he received six calls from residents asking about the Monday closing and is concerned that unknowing residents will be fined if they leave their trash at the centers on days when they are closed.
The matter was not on the official Tuesday Board of Commissioner’s Agenda, but Fleming said he would like to address the situation again in the future.