Garbage a Dirty Business?

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Lauderdale County supervisors again considered increasing penalties for people who illegally use its green box dumpsters. The discussion started with an explanation from board attorney Rick Barry.

“We have people from Alabama and other counties and probably the city of Meridian who are going out there and dumping residential garbage," Barry said. "They're not supposed to. They're in violation of the ordinance if they do that. You've got businesses that are going out there and dumping non-residential garbage as defined in the ordinance out there."

Only residents from non-incorporated areas of Lauderdale County who pay the green box tax are eligible to use them. They are, however, prohibited from depositing white goods old TV sets and many other such objects.

Commercial firms are forbidden to dump furniture, building materials, all oversized items and any industry or business garbage.

To get the public's attention, fines would be increased to as much as $500 for private citizens who violate and $1,000 for commercial firms.

Supervisor Eddie Harper said there is a reason for increasing fines.

"Our tippage fees, which is what the county pays to dispose of the garbage in the green boxes, has what would you say, doubled in the last three to four years," said Harper.

"It's gone up approximately $100,000 a year since I've been here. From about $400,000 to $800,000," said District 3 supervisor Craig Hitt.

Harper and Hitt agreed the income from garbage collection would have to make the service self-sustaining or rate and millage increases would be next. The problem is, Harper said, people just don't know the rules.

"I talk to people all the time and they think if they pay their $60, they can put anything they want in there whether they're a contractor, whether they're a yard man or whatever," Harper said.

At that point, on the verge of the vote, county engineer Neal Carson spoke up. He reminded the supervisors most green boxes are on land made available by various businesses and to turn around and fine one of those businesses $1,000 for putting outlawed garbage in the green box on land the business owned and let the county use just wouldn't fly.

With the reality of this new possibility brought up to them, the supervisors decided to talk it over once more at the next work session and try again to find an answer.