In a 15 minute meeting Thursday, the Quay County Commissioners made it official – the Quay County Government is no longer in the trash hauling business.
Following a brief discussion commissioners Jeff Lewalling and Franklin McCasland voted to officially repeal Solid Waste Ordinance 34 which years before had put the Quay County Government into the position of collecting trash throughout the rural portions of Quay County.
Commissioner Grace Madrid was not present because of illness in her family. Both Commissioners Lewalling and McCasland said they feel bad about the increased expense for county residents who are on fixed and now face the added expense of getting their trash hauled by a private contractor. However, the commissioners added that because of the expense for the county, they would be forced to raise the rates appreciably if the county were to keep the service.
McCasland said that currently the county is $200,000 in the hole. Because of expenses associated with trash pick-up by county employees in the different dumpster locations in the county, the only remedy that he sees is to get out of the trash hauling business.
In the past, Commissioner Madrid had said she still had some hesitation about voting for the repeal of the ordinance because she said she realized that there are a number of people in the county on fixed incomes. When the county government is no longer picking up trash, and private companies begin taking the job over, the price for those services will rise. Madrid said she is certain that will put an added strain on those individuals. “I wish there was some way to get around that,” said Madrid.
County manager Terry Turner said that rural county residents had been sent a list of firms who were interested in hauling trash from different residences. Turner added that a number of those firms have been contacting residents and explaining their charges and services. In addition, he said a number of them have been advertising on radio and in area newspapers. According to Turner the average cost for most dumpsters provided by the private waste hauler is around $30 per month with most firms allowing some sharing of usage by residents. In addition some communities, like San Jon, have been setting up special dumpsters for county residents for a small monthly fee.