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Scott closes dump sites on Sundays as part of solution to illegal dumping

Nick Shepherd • Jul 6, 2017 at 9:30 AM

GATE CITY — Scott County will take a three-pronged approach to deal with illegal dumping at its waste sites: Close all 14 locations on Sundays, install cameras and cell phone hot spots to encourage the presence of deputies and close the Yuma facility every evening.

The decision came after a lengthy discussion during the regular monthly meeting of the Scott County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday afternoon. Board members have been discussing how to address the trash problem for the last three months.

Public Works Director and Assistant County Supervisor Bill Dingus told supervisors there are two distinct issues the county is dealing with: Dump sites are closed on Mondays because they’re filling up on Sundays, and out-of-state and out-of-county trash is flowing into the sites.

“It’s a logistical problem for them to be open on Sundays,” he said. “To fix that would be to go back to having them closed on Sunday from as late as we can on Saturday evening and opening them on Monday morning.”

As for illegal dumping, Dingus noted three sites are seeing the heaviest flow of trash. The facilities at Yuma, East Carters Valley and Nickelsville were deemed the worst for out-of-state and out-of-county trash. Yuma and East Carters Valley are close to the Tennessee state line while Nickelsville is close to the border with Russell County.

Dingus proposed a solution for those sites. He said the Public Works Department has already put up more signage to inform people about the ordinance and fines associated with illegal dumping. He told the board he would like permission to install cameras at the worst sites as well as Verizon boosters, which would boost cell phone signals.

He said the boosters might entice deputies of the Scott County Sheriff's Office to come to the sites and make phone calls or fill out paperwork. The presence of the cruisers could act as a deterrent to anyone wanting to access the site illegally.

The boosters would cost $79.95 to install with some capital costs associated with the installation. He said he would be able to offset the expense within his department’s budget, most likely by getting rid of portable toilets located at a few sites.

Dingus also informed the board the attendant at the Yuma site lives about a mile away and is willing to close it every night.

All the supervisors expressed an interest in Dingus’ proposals. Chairman David Redwine said the county needed to have some type of oversight about what goes into the Dumpsters. He said he was afraid the county was reverting back to the time before the sites were built. He said he did not want to return to that point.

Supervisors said they expect to receive some negative feedback about the Sunday closings but pointed out that paying for other people’s trash to be hauled away is costing the county more money. It costs $30 to get rid of one ton of trash.

After more debate, Supervisor Jack Compton made a motion to close all the trash sites at 7 p.m. on Saturdays and keep them closed until 7 a.m. Monday. Supervisor Joe Herron voted against that and said the sites should be open a little later on Saturday nights. So Compton amended his motion to close all sites at 8 p.m. on Saturdays and reopen them at 7 a.m. on Monday.

The motion was approved unanimously, with Vice Chairman Danny Mann and Supervisor Marshall Tipton unable to attend the meeting.

The board then approved the installation of electronics at five sites, adding Dungannon and Fort Blackmore to the list, and voted to close the Yuma waste site every evening from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. the next day.

“This is an ongoing process,” Redwine said. "If we change something today, this will probably be the sixth or eighth time that we’ve changed things. We’re doing our best to find some solutions, and this may not work, all of it. But we’ll do what we can and keep the good things, and it may have to be changed again.”

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