Webster County Fiscal Court handled a brief agenda on Monday, starting off with a proclomation declaring the first day of every month “True Blue Day” in Webster County for 2019.
Webster County, Kentucky, ASAP and Webster County Schools partnered to write a federal Drug Free Communities Grant that was awarded in the amount of $625,000 over a five year period, beginning in 2017.
The program provides drug and alcohol abuse related training for schools officials, law enforcement and other interested parties from around the county.
Everyone in Webster County is asked to wear blue on the first day of every month in recognition of True Blue Webster County’s mission of making all of Webster County a Drug Free Community.
In other business, Webster County Solid Waste Director Sondra Norman announced that the compaction centers would be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, as well as New Years Eve and New Years Day. To help alleviate any problems caused, the centers will be open December 26 through 29 and January second through fifth.
The solid waste centers still appear to be on track to begin requiring customers to use specific trash bags, beginning at some point in 2019.
The county’s three solid waste centers have operated from the beginning on coal severance dollars, at no charge to county residents. But over the last decade, the county has seen a reduction of over $1 million in the amount of coal severance money being returned to the county.
Coal severance money, which Kentucky’s coal mining counties use to support and repair their infrastructure, have been declining for several years. When the coal severance fund was initially set up, coal mining counties were supposed to get roughly 50 percent of coal severance tax dollars back to improve roads, drinking water and other infrastructure related items.
In Webster County, coal dollars go to help fund the senior programs, the sheriff’s department, among other programs, and has paid for 100 percent of the solid waste and recycling program since it was first launched.
But those days are gone. Despite Dotiki still mining coal, the funds coming back to the county have dried up. Webster County was originally expected to receive around $658,000 in the current fiscal year, but is on track to see just $500,000.
“At this point there is not an option to offer garbage disposal for free,” judge executive Steve Henry said at a meeting earlier this year.
the court gave tentative approval to proceed with a plan from Wastezero, a North Carolina-based certified B-Corporation.
A B-Corporation, or benefit corporation, is a type of for-profit company authorized by 33 U.S. states and the District of Columbia that includes positive impact on society, workers, the community and the environment.
Wastezero works with municipal and county governments from around the country to find solutions to their garbage disposal problems. Their program seems to be a perfect fit with what the Fiscal Court was looking to do.
After polling residents from across the county, it was clear people wanted to keep the solid waste centers open, but there was no way of doing so without charging. Magistrates felt an across the board tax would be unfair, as residents in Providence and Sebree already pay for garbage disposal.
The next option was charging customers at the drop off sites, which meant either keeping money on hand or coming up with a pre-paid credit card system, neither of which was something county officials wanted to deal with.
That is where Wastezero comes in.
The company manufactures garbage bags for cities and municipalities across the country, all of which can be bought and sold like any other garbage bag. The difference is, these would be special ordered for the
see blue/page A8
county government, including a Webster County logo.
Wastezero is working to see that these bags would be for sale in various stores around the county so that residents will be able to easily locate and purchase them.
Packaged in boxes of 5, 10 or 20, and in sizes of either 13 gallon (typical kitchen bag) up to 30 gallon, these specialty bags would be easily identifiable to the disposal site workers. And customers wouldn’t have to pay a dime at the disposal center.
Wastezero will deliver the bags to the store, which will sell them to the customers. The sale price of the bags will be split between Wastezero and Webster County Solid Waste.
Paul Gardner, a spokesperson for the company, told members of the fiscal court that this would likely mean a big difference in both the trash and recyclables the county will see.
“People who waste less pay less,” he said, stressing that in nearly every market where the company has become involved, the interest in recycling explodes.
That two is a big benefit for the solid waste program. The county pays to dispose of all garbage that is brought in to its centers. On the other hand, much of the plastic and cardboard that is recycled generates a modest profit for the county.
And recycling will continue to be free across the county.
Switching to Wastezero will also mean another big change for the county. For the last several years the centers were only open to either county residents or property owners. Now, as long as the person bringing trash in has one of the special Webster County Solid Waste bags, it doesn’t matter where they live.
Reach MATT HUGHES
at 270-667-2068 or