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County considers closure of convenience centers
Josh Roberts.jpg
Josh Robert

The Morrison and Smartt convenience centers may be combined at a new location in order to more effectively serve the community and save money.

The county Health and Welfare Committee discussed the possibility of consolidating the two convenient centers Tuesday night. Warren County Sanitation Department director Josh Roberts explained the benefits and the hesitations of consolidation.

According to Roberts, the Morrison convenience center has not passed state inspection for the past two years. There is trash liquid leaking out of containers due to elevation problems on the site.

Smartt Station’s convenience center is a safety concern with residents having to back into oncoming traffic. Making a new center combining the two would eliminate these problems. They have also discussed possibly including Viola’s convenient center in consolidation.

The combining of the centers would also save mileage on the trucks they use, according to Roberts, who then went on to explain the financial savings of consolidating the centers.

“You are going to be cutting two centers out. If all three are consolidated, the total savings just in salary is $32,241 per year. That’s the money we can cut our budget by guaranteed,” said Roberts.

“So you are saying those employees would be let go?” asked committee chair Blaine Wilcher.

“They would probably become a floater. In an incident where we couldn’t get an employee to a site or somebody was going to be off, they would be a fill-in,” Roberts answered. 

“You’re talking about the total savings down here the $32,000, that’s based on all three locations?” Kasey Owens asked.

“That’s exactly right,” replied Roberts.

“I know I spoke with someone the other day and they live in Viola and they were not happy to hear what I had to say about that,” said Owens.

“I have talked with a few myself, and there is nobody for change,” said Roberts. “I’ll say that right off the bat. Viola is seven miles to this new location. We don’t even know if this location will be accepted by the state, but we do own 1 acre of property. I don’t know if the businesses around that acre would approve. This is all new. I just found a 1-acre lot with Beth (Martin) at the Property Assessor’s Office. We do own this 1 acre. It would work if approved if the state allows us to use it for a convenient center.”

“Did you do the savings, where Viola is not included?” Owens asked.

“It’s $15,000. You can half the $32, 000,” said Roberts.

Roberts expressed that he does not want to pull the Viola Convenience Center if the majority of Viola residents want to leave it alone. 

Another factor in the discussion is the safety concerns surrounding Smartt Station’s convenience center.

“The last phone call we took was a lady, she was backing out and she about got hit,” said Roberts. “The majority of the people at Smartt are going to park halfway off the road, turn their flashers on, and walk their garbage into that site. They will not pull in there and back out onto oncoming traffic. That site should have never been put there. It should have been left alone and put with Morrison, but Morrison cannot take that capacity from Smartt. It’s not big enough either,” Roberts said.

Roberts says these smaller convenience centers are not able to take larger waste like old mattresses or furniture for instance. Residents who need to dispose of their bigger trash have to go to the Fairgrounds Convenience Center. 

The committee decided Roberts needs to gather more information between now and the next meeting. The new convenient center would have to be approved by Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.