Residents from neighboring counties such as Grundy and Van Buren are driving to Warren County to dump their trash, according to Sanitation Department director Steve Hillis.
“It’s a growing problem,” Hillis told members of the county’s Health and Welfare Committee. “It’s also costly. When you are paying that much in time plus the cost of employees and trucks and fuel, it’s expensive to deal with.”
According to Hillis, Van Buren County charges 11 cents a pound for trash people dump at its convenience centers.
“That’s why a lot of people are coming here from Van Buren County. They don’t want to pay 11 cents a pound,” said Hillis. “We need someone to help us out because we are out here on a limb. We can’t arrest anybody. We need somebody we can call when we warn someone and they do it anyway.”
“Basically all we can do is tell the people not to come back. We are just threatening them. If someone comes with an out-of-county tag, we ask if they have land here. They will tell you they do, but we don’t know if they do or not,” said Hillis. “Really there’s no way to tell.”
County Commissioner Blaine Wilcher said, “Their registration to their vehicle will show the address the vehicle is registered to. Or, an insurance card. Everyone is suppose to have insurance.”
“At one time we had the wheel tax sticker that we went by. Years ago, we also had constables helping and they did a great job,” Hillis said.
Hillis said that to have control, he thinks some type of law enforcement should help out Sanitation Department employees. Wilcher said he thought they had an officer for that purpose when the wheel tax was started.
“We put it in motion to hire an officer, but there’s never been one hired,” said Commissioner Teddy Boyd.
County Executive John Pelham told Hillis to log for a month or two how many people with out-of-county tags use the centers each day. “We need a general idea of what this is costing us. We need to know if it will or will not save to start using constables,” said Pelham.
Commissioner Sally Brock wondered if workers could record a license number, find the person’s name and address, and have an authority figure send a letter to that home saying you cannot dump in Warren County.
“I wish there was a special sticker people in this county could have that we could identify,” said Hillis. “If they have that sticker, they can dump here. If they don’t have it, they can’t.”
“Let me check with the county attorney on the legality of what can be done,” said Pelham, “Let me find out the legalities of saying to someone who owns property in Warren County that you can’t use the convenience centers if you don’t have a Warren County tag on your car.”
Commissioners on the Health and Welfare Committee are Sally Brock, Teddy Boyd, Billy Earl Jones, Diane Starkey and Blaine Wilcher.