Warren County commissioners are looking to either create a contract or upgrade an existing one with the railroad in regard to the convenience centers on their property and it could determine if the Smartt Station and Morrison convenience centers are consolidated.
At a county Health and Welfare committee meeting Thursday, Sanitation Department director Josh Roberts gave an update on the convenience centers. He says they are still trying to collect leakage at Morrison’s facility and have put a 9-foot-long pan to catch it, but it does not fix the problem. Roberts suggests putting a septic tank in to collect the leakage, but they do not own the property.
“As you all know we do not own that property. They are on the railroad so that makes it a little difficult. If we owned that property, I would go in and I would dig a septic tank and send the leakage right to the septic tank,” said Roberts.
The committee asked if Roberts had reached out to the railroad and he told them the county executive handles that and when County Executive Jimmy Haley contacted the railroad, they told him they were unaware the county is “squatting on railroad property.”
“He actually said he did not know we are using that as a dump site?” asked Commissioner Joseph Stotts.
“That is what I was told,” answered Roberts.
Roberts said he did some research and learned there was a handshake agreement from a previous county executive and that is how they ended up on the property. He still believes that consolidating the centers would be best for everyone because the way both Morrison and Smartt Station are set up is inconvenient.
He says the trash compactor is designed to use two sides to keep traffic flowing and both of these centers have their compactor up against a fence.
“I was looking into maybe building a new center to combine both of them. I think that is the best option. We do have money for it. The financial directors told me we have about $8 million in bond money that can be used. I feel like about $155,000, $160,000 would cover the convenience center. We own 1 acre of property at Industrial Park,” said Roberts.
Roberts said the new center would be 4 miles from Smartt Station and 1.5 miles from Morrison. He said he talked to Morrison Mayor Sue Anderson and she has received a lot of complaints about moving the center. Chairman Blain Wilcher said they are probably worried they will lose it if a new center falls through.
“If that is not the County Commission’s wishes, I think we need to try to be pushing the railroad,” said Roberts.
The committee made a motion to have County Executive Jimmy Haley contact the railroad and either renew or create a contract, confirm what they can or cannot do, and if they need to pay rent. County officials will be looking to update agreements for all 12 convenience center sites.