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Convenience centers to stop accepting tires
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The Newton County convenience centers will stop accepting tires on Nov. 1.

The Newton County Board of Commissioners voted for the change in policy Tuesday, after asking staff to determine ways to recoup $1 million in losses by charging a fee for dumping tires and yard waste at the centers.

Aaron Wadley, Director of Transportation, said staff was looking at how different counties charged citizens for dumping tires and yard waste for recycling. He told the board he would be able to bring a number of options for the commissioners to consider at the Nov. 3 BOC meeting.

However, he warned, even adopting a policy and levying fees for use of the convenience centers wouldn’t make up the $1 million the centers are costing the county annually this year, nor would it make up the difference the year after.
The discussion spurned an action item to prohibit the dropping off of tires.

Commissioner John Douglas, though, asked that the BOC hold off suspending the acceptance of tires and yard wastes at the centers, which had been slated to start on Nov. 1.

“We’ve set Nov. 1 as the end date,” Douglas said. “But we haven’t gotten a landfill policy in place, yet.”

County Manager Harry Owens asked the commissioners to stay with the Nov. 1 cutoff for accepting tires at the convenience centers. He said he receives multiple calls weekly from citizens saying they see trucks loaded with tires going to the convenience center to dump them for free.

“It’s killing us to have small tire companies and landscaping companies dumping their wastes at no cost,” Owens said.

After Nov. 1 tires can still be dumped at the landfill, but there is a fee for each one, ranging from $2 to $7 per tire depending on size.

Commissioner J. C. Henderson objected to the ban, saying that citizens are already paying taxes. Requiring more money to be able to dump tires in the landfill was just increasing the amount taxpayers were being asked to pay, he said.

Douglas disagreed. “The difference is if you take your tires to the convenience center, all of Newton County pays for it. If you take them to the dump, you pay for dumping your own tires.”

Owens recommended that the commissioners listen to the recommendations from the Solid Waste Citizen’s Committee.

Those recommendations include establishing a Newton County Solid Waste Authority, similar to the existing Newton County Water and Sewage Authority; phasing out convenience centers and moving toward curbside pickup of all waste; separating out recyclable materials to reduce waste load on landfill capacity; and redevelopment of the landfill for public use such as a regional park.

The committee said the landfill could support itself if properly managed, but it is currently losing money due to subsidies to the convenience centers where county residents can dispose of waste for free and failure to strictly collect all fees.