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Pine Grove To Raise Garbage Rates

By Staff | Dec 21, 2016

The Town of Pine Grove is pursuing an increase in garbage pickup service, specifically an increase from $12 to $17 for residences. The fee will be $25 for larger businesses.

The town’s legal counsel, Gary Rymer, will prepare an ordinance to be read at the next meetings.

Councilmember Barbara King began the discussion on the matter, noting that the town is paying “a small fortune” for all of the beer bottles and cardboard it picks up. King remarked that Wetzel County Solid Waste Authority’s executive director Terri Tyler, is hoping to expand the county’s recycling program to Pine Grove but is having difficulty finding a location.

“The solid waste authority says we are not charging enough for garbage,” King said. “The bulk of our waste is beer bottles and cardboard, and we know the boys (town workers who pick up the garbage) are having trouble with cardboard.” King explained that some businesses won’t “break the cardboard up.”

Town Recorder Rhonda Spencer said she had spoken to the manager of the specific business, who had not been breaking down its cardboard, and the situation was supposed to be rectified.

King noted that one of the town’s employees could pick up beer bottles and cardboard every two weeks, for recycling. “It would save us a lot of money, from the landfill.” King noted the recycling, from the solid waste authority, is free “no matter how much weight.”

“You wouldn’t have to pay for that.”

“I think it is a good idea,” King noted, “but no one else seems to think it is, but I think we are spending a small fortune.” “I think it is something we should think about,” King said.

Mayor Roy Justice suggested that council reflect on the idea and return to the topic at next month’s meeting.

During its discussion on recycling, however, it was noted that the landfill has raised its fee it charges for the garbage brought in.

Justice noted that if the landfill has raised its rate, then the council needed to possibly raise the rate it charges for garbage service.

He also noted that the town’s workers have requested raises, but added that the town cannot raise wages if it doesn’t raise its rate.

“My recommendation is we charge $5 more a month. We can’t raise wages if we don’t have anything to pay out. We have to do something. We can’t keep running on a shoe string.”

Council approved of a $17 rate for garbage pick-up services for residences, and a $25 rate for garbage pick-up services for larger businesses, monthly.

In another matters, Attorney Rymer said the Public Service Commission is ordering council to amend its water/sewage rate increase, as the PSC did not approve of the effective date.

“You have to have so many days before you pass an ordinance. They want a public notice of at least 30 days before it will go into effect. The best we can do is amend the ordinance now. We can publish it next week, and then the following week. Then we will have an effective date of about Feb. 5,” Rymer explained.

The sewage rate will be $59.76 per month, while the water rate will be $27.78 per month.

In another matter, council briefly discussed Spencer’s hours. Justice explained, to the council, that Spencer wanted to set some hours “for the dead time, and not so dead time.”

“The only thing we need to watch out for, are the weeks when she has the water shut-of notices out… she needs to be up here for a few days after those are sent out, for people to pay those.”

Council discussed Spencer taking a day off, or working two half-days during the week.

Spencer noted that she does not take vacations. Furthermore, she said she does have a personal life. She said she sometimes comes in 10 to 15 minutes early, prior to her 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. shift. She noted that if she has personal matters to attend to, such as a doctor’s appointment, she will run town errands while out for her personal business. “I come back here,” she stated. “I don’t go home.”

Spencer also explained that she is sometimes at the municipal building seven days a week, with the building being rented. She said she answers calls if those renting cannot find something, “Or I take the trash out that they forgot to take out.”

Spencer was advised to make a schedule for the council to look at, at its next meeting.