Haywood extends financial olive branch to towns for trash haulingWritten by Caitlin Bowling
Haywood County will help ease the burden faced by towns as they start trucking their trash all the way to the county’s far-flung landfill.
County commissioners will allocate more than $100,000 to towns to help cover the added cost of the trash journey, from more trash workers to extra trash trucks. Starting this summer, the county will no longer allow towns and commercial trash services to bring their loads to a mid-point trash transfer station in Clyde and instead will make them go all the way to the White Oak landfill, an extra hour or more roundtrip.
During a public hearing on the county budget this week, commissioners made a point to highlight the county’s contribution to towns’ trash operations.
The county will save hundreds of thousands by closing the transfer station to town and commercial trash trucks but will share some of those savings back with the towns to offset the burden and ideally prevented town residents trash rates from going up.
The county will pay the towns of Waynesville, Canton and Clyde $15 for each household that they pick up garbage from.
“All of them were very supportive of that funding formula,” said County Manager Marty Stamey.
Clyde will receive $7,500; Canton will get $23,700; and Waynesville will be allocated $80,670.
The goal of the money is to prevent towns from having to pass the buck onto their residents. Canton and Clyde have committed to not raising their rates.
“The whole concept of this was to alleviate the burden on those citizens,” Stamey said.
However, Waynesville is still recommending a rate increase, though the amount is unknown.
“What the county is offering us doesn’t come anywhere close to what the additional costs will be,” said former Town Manager Lee Galloway, who is acting as a consultant for the town until July. The estimated cost of hauling its own trash to White Oak is $160,000.
Galloway added that the town appreciates the money that the county is able to provide.
The county hopes the contribution will be an annual allocation, according Stamey.
The county already subsidizes the trash journey to White Oak for county residents who don’t live inside the town limits. County residents without town trash pick-up drop their garbage at dumpster lots located in communities throughout the county. The county then pays to have it trucked to White Oak.
Maggie won’t see any assistance, because for it, the White Oak landfill isn’t any further than the transfer station in Clyde.
Fire tax districts
Residents served by the North Canton and Maggie Valley fire departments will see a 1-cent increase in their fire district taxes next year. The fire tax is tacked on to people’s property tax bills based on every $100 of property valuation.
At the budget public hearing this week, commissioners invited people involved with the North Canton and Maggie Valley fire departments to talk briefly about the tax increases each requested.
The North Canton Volunteer Fire Department has asked for a one-cent increase in its tax rate next year. The current rate is 5.5 cents.
The rate is “considerably lower than other fire departments” in the county and will increase for one year only, said Board Chairman Mark Swanger.
The extra cent will augment the fire department’s budget so it can replace aging gear. The department has already saved $25,000.
“But, we need some more to do that,” said Ben Williamson, chairman of board of North Canton Volunteer Fire Department.
The Maggie Valley Fire Department has also asked for an one-cent increase to help pay for more full-time employees to man the building 24-7. Eventually, the added revenue might be used for new gear as well.
“The big thing is personnel,” said Jan Pressley, who spoke on behalf of the department.
The new employees could mean a lower insurance rates for residents in the valley.