The Letcher County Fiscal Court is halfway to increasing sanitation fees, after action was taken at a special meeting held on February 19.
The increase in rates will cover a hike in fees from WATCO, the London company that transports Letcher County’s solid waste to the landfill, which it (WATCO) owns and operates. At the regular fiscal court meeting held on February 17, Judge/ Executive Terry Adams told the court that WATCO had raised the cost for disposing of Letcher County’s solid waste from $45.80 in December to $50.50 in January. He added that the increase had come as a complete surprise.
Adams asked the court to approve a 75 cent per month price hike for residential customers as well as senior citizens. This will increase residential rates from $15 per month to $15.75, and rates for senior citizens from $13 to $13.75. Adams also called for a $5 per ton increase for waste taken to the station by haulers, raising the cost from $50 a ton to $55. The rental rate for dumpsters is $60 per month and $60 each per dump. Commercial businesses will be charged $15 per cubic yard of garbage collected. A $30 fee per pick-up truckload will be charged for any resident who requests a special pick-up by the Sanitation Department. This includes bulky items, yard waste, or household material, in addition to the standard monthly residential fee.
At the special called meeting, County Attorney Jamie Hatton conducted the first reading of the amendment to an ordinance setting the new sanitation rates. Following the reading, Adams said he had looked at rates in neighboring counties and they were all higher than Letcher County. Residential rates in Knott County are $20 per month and $12 for senior citizens, Perry County charges $17.84 for residential rates and $13.39 for senior citizens. Pike County’s rate for residential service is $24.50 per month and $15 for seniors. He added that the 75 cents per month increase will only add $9 a year per year.
Two members of the public asked questions regarding sanitation. Terry Caudill asked if the court had looked at other ways to dispose of waste, and Adams said it has. However, he said the current method is the most efficient way. Gary Wright, who said he lives on Craft’s Colly, asked if the number of customers, listed as 6,600, was an accurate number, and Adams said it is. He said the Sanitation Department adds new customers any time it learns about someone who doesn’t receive a bill, and said the county has made efforts to find residents who don’t get a garbage bill. Fiscal Court Clerk Bobbi Eldridge, who also handles billing for the Sanitation Department, added that if someone misses a payment, the person receives a phone call, but if the matter persists, County Attorney Hatton pursues legal remedies.
The court voted unanimously to approve the first reading of the amendment and Adams said he plans to schedule another special meeting before the end of the month for a second reading.