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Disposal of tires proves costly
Josh Roberts in truck.jpg
FILE PHOTO. Warren County Sanitation Department director Josh Roberts.

The county is looking to bid out tire recycling after learning the current method will cost the county nearly $60,000. 

At the county Safety and Beer Board Committee meeting Monday night, Sanitation Department Director Josh Roberts explained to commissioners that businesses do not pay for tire disposal and the state only reimburses a small amount, leaving taxpayers footing the bill. 

“During budget year 2020-2021 we lost $30,000. This year’s budget, we are expected to lose $60,000. The passenger tire average is 22 pounds per tire. What we are sending to be recycled is costing the county taxpayer $2 per tire on a passenger tire. We are sitting at $1.50 with individuals and $1 per business. A business does not pay the county sanitation department. The state sends the dollar into us and the individual is paying $1.50. So we are 50 cents short on an individual. We are a dollar short from the state on our businesses on our passenger tires,” said Roberts. 

According to Roberts, it costs $9 to recycle a semi tire and the state still only reimburse the county $1 for these tires, leaving the taxpayers paying the remaining $8. A tractor tire costs the county taxpayer $18 to dispose of and Roberts is unclear if the state reimburses the county $1 for those. 

“So it is costing us $8 per semi tire from a business when we send it. The county taxpayer is footing $8 off of the business. That’s just on a semi tire. The tractor tire, some people will tell you at the state we are getting reimbursed $1 and some people from the state will tell you they do not reimburse the county on a tractor tire,” said Roberts.

Commissioner Gary Prater questioned if the amount should be added onto a trucker's bill when they dispose of tires.

“If I owned a tire shop and Steven brings me his tractor to change the back tires, that should be added onto that bill and it’s not being added onto that bill,” explained Roberts.

“They aren’t adding anything but the dollar?” asked Commissioner Ron Lee.

“They can charge what they want to, but they aren’t paying us a dime,” said Roberts.

Roberts gave a recent example of how much it costs the county to dispose of a business' tires.

“We sent a load out on Nov. 29 from a business I won’t name, because I don’t want to throw them under the bus. It all comes back to us sitting right here because we have to increase this. They had 528 passenger tires, they had 70 semis tires and they had 52 ag tires on this trailer. At a total of 650 tires, the county taxpayer footed $1,850 on that one load. That is one load. We load two loads every Wednesday,” said Roberts. 

Roberts says they are looking into entering a contract with Liberty Tire that would lower the recycling cost, but Finance Director Justin Cotten says it will have to be bid out. 

“To me it is a question of whether we act on this now or wait. We cannot continue to cost the county taxpayer $30,000 and $60,000 because Steven Helton Trucking Company brings his tires to the county at $8 a pop. I’ve brought Josh a lot of tires and I feel like that is my responsibility,” said Commissioner Steven Helton.

The committee made a motion to send the tire recycling out to bid.