Loudon County residents dumping trash at the Convenience and Recycling Center in Greenback may need a window sticker to use the facility.
District 3 Commissioner Bill Satterfield told Loudon County Commission at a Sept. 19 workshop that the taxpayer-financed location was taking in a lot of out-of-county waste.
“What we’re trying to do is to get a handle on solid waste that’s coming in from outside the county,” Satterfield said.
He said signs have been posted telling those who enter it is for local residents only. Despite the signs, Satterfield said whenever he is at the facility he sees two or three vehicles with tags indicating they are from Blount or Monroe counties.
Loudon County does not charge residents to dump at convenience centers. Blount County charges for use of waste disposal sites. Monroe County has a free center in Vonore, Satterfield said.
He said he is concerned county taxpayers are paying for too much out-of-county waste to be hauled off.
While more waste is being generated in the county because of growth, Chris Parks, director of the convenience centers, said growth in neighboring Blount is impacting Greenback. He said last year he had to add another employee at the Greenback location to keep up with increased work.
Other convenience centers in the middle of the county aren’t experiencing the same issue with out-of-county patrons, Parks said. He said he thinks the issue is more of a problem in Greenback because the center is located just a few miles from Blount and Monroe counties.
David Kerr, an employee at the Greenback center, said he sees as many as 100 out-of-county plates at the facility on some days. He said window stickers would make it easier for him to identify who is allowed to use the facility.
Commissioner Van Shaver said the convenience centers are among the biggest contributors to Matlock Bend Landfill. He said the county pays by the ton to dump waste, pointing out tipping fees have increased under a new contract with Republic Services to manage the landfill.
Parks said the extra $2 per ton the landfill operator now charges the county can really add up. If out-of-county waste was reduced, the savings could be noticeable, he said.
Satterfield suggested one solution might be to require local residents to get a window sticker to identify them as being from Greenback. He said the stickers could be distributed through the Greenback mayor’s office.
Commissioner Adam Waller suggested the stickers could also be distributed with property tax bills.
Shaver asked about enforcement of the rules. He said stopping a determined non-resident from using the facility without the help of law enforcement would be difficult.
Parks agreed enforcement could be an issue, especially if out-of-county dumpers want to make an issue.
In an unrelated matter, commissioners discussed permits that must be secured from the highway department when adding driveways on county roads.
Shaver said he was not necessarily concerned about single-family homes, but more about larger developments that would put a greater burden on county roads with an increase in the number of vehicles.
“I’m looking for something that would offset the cost of the roads,” he said.
Highway Superintendent Billy Pickel said the requirement is generally not enforced, noting no fee is assessed when a permit is granted. He said he would not be opposed to generating revenue for the roads but did not want to create a new tax. He said he was actually in favor of repealing the requirement.
Shaver said he was concerned about safety on small roads.
Pickel said state law adequately addresses safety issues.
Commissioner Chase Randolph said he did not apply for a driveway permit when he built a new home several years ago. He said he would have a hard time supporting regulations making building a home in the county more difficult.
“You have to be careful,” Commissioner Gary Whitfield said. “It’s already hard to build a home in Loudon County.”
Shaver said after the meeting he would speak with Pickel and Jim Jenkins, codes enforcement director, about the best way to proceed. Shaver said the result might be the elimination of regulations requiring driveway permits through Pickel’s office for all homes and the creation of a regulation that addressed driveways for multi-unit complexes on smaller roads.
Commissioners also again discussed how to spend the more than $10 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds awarded the county. Some money has already been committed to raises for county employees. Commission might hold a special workshop dedicated to the issue Oct. 17.