Edgell Is Named to WCSWA
Former West Virginia Senator Larry Edgell has been announced as the newest member of the Wetzel County Solid Waste Authority (WCSWA).
The announcement was made at the Thursday, May 5 meeting of the authority and comes after the resignation of authority member Bryan Ensinger.
Edgell was appointed by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and will complete the unexpired term of Ensinger.
Edgell’s appointment will expire on June 30, 2017.
In another matter, WCSWA Executive Director Terri Tyler announced that recycling has increased 64 percent in the past year.
Tyler used this fact in her plea to board members to approve the purchase of a 7×16 foot trailer. The cost would be approximately $4,300.
“This is a very big issue, and it is becoming more and more of an issue,” Tyler said.
“We don’t have room to do everything we are doing. We have increased 64 percent over the past year. Right now we have at least two loads of cardboard at the 4-H grounds that we need to go get. I can’t get it, because two trailers get used all week long picking up for the schools,” Tyler explained.
Tyler said the commission would provide the labor to pack up the cardboard, but the authority needs to send the trailer.
Tyler showed the authority several photos from the past weekend’s recycling drop-off, as well as photos from the community cleanup.
Authority member Steve Conlon argued that it is difficult to know where the recycling program is headed in the future, in regards as to whether the amount of recycling the authority picks up will increase or decrease. He also suggested the authority look for a used trailer.
Tyler responded that she has requested two additional trailers in the yearly grant, but the authority won’t know if this request is fulfilled until August.
“Our newest trailer is 13 years old,” she explained. Tyler noted, in terms of recycling activity, “hopefully it is going to continue to grow.”
Tyler noted that the recycling program for the county is the part of the authority’s responsibility.
Authority Chairman Bill Hughes suggested that taking cardboard from businesses, for recycling, is subsidizing the business.
Authority member Mark Cochran alluded to the fact that the authority had spent over $100,000 to intervene in Lackawanna Transport Company’s case – an application to build a special cell for drilling waste – before the Public Service Commission. LTC is the owner and opeator of Wetzel County Landfill.
In March the PSC finally granted LTC’s application. Meanwhile, Hughes is being sued in federal court by LTC.
The complaint against Hughes claims he used his position as the authority’s chairman to “intervene, for his own personal reasons, but purportedly on behalf of the Authority, in proceedings before the Public Service Commission of West Virginia” without the authority’s approval.
PSC dismissed the intervention – a complaint filed by the Wetzel County Solid Waste Authority, opposing the construction of the cell.
At Thursday’s meeting Cochran said he sees the trailer as benefitting the community.
Hughes said it was important to look at the balance of what materials come in via residents versus “bulk stuff from businesses.”
“Isn’t it important to keep stuff out of hte landfill?” Cochran stated.
“Some stuff,” Hughes responded.
“Just some stuff?” Cochran further questioned.
Hughes noted that there is a hierarchy of material that is more or less valuable.
“We are talking about subsidizing businesses and the degree that we do that,” Hughes added.
Cochran noted that the businesses that are bringing cardboard and recyclables “are doing it for ideological reasons.”
Kelly Nelsen, area resident present at the meeting, agreed.
“The city allots us a garbage pickup, and these guys are great enough to pick up anything.”
“Part of the discussion is that were are going to some places to pick stuff up,” Conlon noted.
Tyler responded that the only places the authority travels to pick materials up are the schools.
“They have asked us for their help,” she said. “If we take the trailer out, they will load it. All we have to do is haul it to St. Marys. Helping the schools and going and getting stuff from the schools… I don’t see that as being a negative.”
Cochran made the motion that Tyler be allowed to purchase the trailer; Edgell seconded the measure. Cochran, Edgell, nad Authority Member Mike Durig all voted for the measure, with Conlon voting against it.
In another matter, Tyler stated that two people have been hired to start on the countywide litter cleanup, which focuses on Routes 180, 7, 2 and 20. Furthermore, she said participants in the county’s drug court program will work on the roads not included in what the commissioners have paid for.
Also, Ben Freeman of the West Virginia Attorney General’s office was present at the meeting and advised the authority regarding pending Freedom of Information Act requests.
Freeman advised the authority against fulfilling FOIA requests made by Ryan Inch, Engineer of Wetzel County Landfill, until a judge orders such. Freeman cited attorney-client privilege as the reason advising against fulfilling the requests. One FOIA request dealt with unredacted invoices from the authority’s former attorney Silas Taylor. Another FOIA request was for an e-mail between Taylor and Chairman Hughes.
The authority also discussed how much to pay Taylor for services he had rendered to the authority in the past. The authority decided at its February meeting to not have Taylor perform anymore services on its behalf. At last month’s meeting Freeman was advised to discuss the authority’s balance, and payment arrangements, with Taylor.
The authority currently owes Taylor $21,836.70.
Freeman noted that Taylor did not want to negotiate the balance with the authority; he did not have any advice however on whether to pay the balance in full or make payments, as the authority had been doing.
Conlon made the motion that the authority begin paying Taylor $2,000 a month. Durig seconded the motion.
Cochran asked who authorized the work by Taylor. A representative of Bailey and Wyatt, who is representing Hughes in civil proceedings, advised Hughes not to answer the question.
Edgell noted that this was his first meeting, and he did not feel comfortable authorizing the the measure.
Conlon and Durig voted to pay Taylor $2,000 a month, while Cochran and Edgell voted against such. Chairman Hughes was the tie-breaking vote and voted to pay Taylor.