trashstory

MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (4/16/16) — County residents spoke out about the recent closures of two convenience centers during a Muhlenberg Fiscal Court meeting this week.

One resident had photos showing trash beginning to build up around the Cleaton area, where he said litter is on the increase since the recent closure of the convenience center site.

Others in attendance also voiced concern that trash would become a major turnoff for hunters and tourism.

County officials said they had no choice but to close the Cleaton and Weir trash collection sites that resulted in the layoff of four workers due to cuts of about $2 million in coal severance funds.

The three convenience centers that will remain open are located in Greenville, Beechmont and South Carrollton, Magistrate Tommy Watkins said.

Watkins said the county is working on plans to open a possible transfer station for anything other than household garbage, and stressed there are no plans to shut down the other three sites.

In addition, he said the county lost $420,000 in operating dumpsites last fiscal year, and another $260,000 on its landfill, which is no longer in operation. The county currently pays the Ohio County landfill $19 per ton to accept its garbage.

The county also suspended its recycling services, and raised the cost of individual bags from 75 cents to $1.50 earlier this year. Residents are required to purchase county bags to dispose their garbage at convenience centers.

“We’re going to come up with something that will make all this work,” said Judge-Executive Rick Newman. “It’s just going to take a little time and we’re working on the next budget. We didn’t have very long to make a decision on what to do.”

Newman, who is back to work after a lengthy hospital stay, reported Thursday that Muhlenberg would receive $300,000 in coal severance funds, and Fiscal Court is working on a way to manage funds for the county’s half-million dollar shortfall in upcoming bond payments.

Drakesboro resident Alan Hall spoke during the meeting, showing photos he had taken along Peabody Coal property and wildlife preservation lands in and around the Cleaton and Drakesboro areas.

Hall, who said he has cleaned up a few of the garbage heaps voluntarily, argued that residents would not travel to other convenience centers since the closure of the Cleaton site.

“None of this trash was here three weeks ago,” he said. “The site at Cleaton was the most used and it was clean,” referencing photographic documentation. “This is going to cost the county to clean it up.”

Newman said the county may have to contact the state for funds to clean up illegal dumpsites if it persists.

Watkins also responded by saying, “people should have more pride and drive the extra 3 miles to dump their trash in the Dumpster, instead of on the side of the road.”

Other residents, who attended the meeting, said the Dumpsters are overflowing and they cannot dispose of their waste at times.

Currently, county officials said annual expenses to operate the three convenience centers would be about $250,000.

Doreen Dennis
SurfKY News Reporter
SurfKY News Video/Doreen Dennis

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