Fiscal court ends recycling program

Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:40 pm

The local recycling program that began a few years ago via help from grant funds, will be shutting down, at least for a while, beginning in the middle of next month.

Clinton County Fiscal Court, on a 4-2 vote during a special meeting last Thursday afternoon, December 19, voted to cease recycling operations beginning January 16.

The action came near the end of the approximate half-hour meeting, which saw all court members present.

Magistrate Ray Marcum, who has been looking into the recycling program and searching for ways for the recycling program to at least break even financially, told the court that charging local businesses a fee for picking up recyclable items was not plausible and could only bring in a few hundred per month.

Marcum also inferred the county was losing about $5,000 per month by operating the recycling service. He added, we have got to have the ambulance service, sheriff’s department and a jail first. He then made the motion to cease operating the recycling program effective January 16.

Magistrate Terry Buster, one of the court members who opposed the motion, said he would like to see more numbers and study the situation further before shutting the service down.

After only a brief discussion, Marcum’s motion received a second from Magistrate Gary Ferguson and passed on a 4-2 roll call vote with Magistrates Mickey Riddle and Jerry Lowhorn also voting in favor of the motion while Buster and Magistrate Johnny Russell voted no.

The move to cease the recycling program was financially motivated as the program has been losing money for sometime. However, the court left open the possibility of bringing it back if there could be ways found to provide the service and break even.

It was also noted no employees at the center would lose jobs, as they will apparently be moved to positions such as the road department.

The court also took up several other items of business including budgets and board appointments.

The court first accepted the monthly treasurer’s report, approved fund transfers and voted to pay claims and bills.

Payroll transfers included $1,500 from the general to the Occupational fund; $25,000 from the general to Jail fund and $40,000 from the general to the Ambulance fund.

They also voted to pay $82,845.38 in auditors fees ending June of 2018 with a balance of $16,457.27 to be paid next month, according to County Treasurer Cindy Thrasher.

The IDA 2020 calendar year budget was approved and the court also appointed Kim Garrett Stockton to a three-year term on the Industrial Authority board to replace outgoing member Debbie Brown.

After approving the Tourism Commission budget for next year, the court approved two items related to the County Clerk’s office.

On separate motions, the court approved the clerk’s office budget in the amount of $133,200, unchanged from last year, which includes all salaries and wages , along with vacation and sick leave.

They also approved the clerk’s office 2020 fee account, which County Clerk Nathan Collins noted was higher than last year. The budget estimate in that account for the coming year is $1,997,800, up around $83,000 above the 2019 fee account for the office.

The court then approved the 2020 sheriff’s budget, which Sheriff Jeff Vincent noted was higher in total than the current year for different reasons.

For example, the department is helping provide two SRO’s (School Resource Officers) which reflects in the sheriff’s office budget but the salaries and benefits are paid entirely by the school district.

The sheriff also said there was an eight percent increase in retirement, adding all his officers had now completed required training.

The second and final reading of a 2019-20 budget amendment, including unanticipated funds, was approved unanimously.

The court then voted to appoint Anna Norris and April Speck to the Clinton County Extension Office board on a 5-0 vote with Magistrate Lowhorn abstaining.

Judge/Executive Ricky Craig then told the court that after speaking with state officials, the county could put up In God We Trust signs at the courthouse, but it would have to be done by a vote of the fiscal court.

A motion was made by Magistrate Riddle, seconded by Magistrate Ferguson, to place to such signs–one on either side of the courthouse–with the measure passing by unanimous vote.

Judge Craig also thanked Pastor Bobby Grant, who took the initiative to have the signs put up at schools and other buildings in the city and county.

Grant was present at the meeting and thanked the court for their vote and also offered to help fund the signs, saying there was $1,400 left over from the signs purchased for the schools and city hall and public funds could be raised in lieu of the county having to use county tax dollars.

The next regular meeting of Clinton Fiscal Court is scheduled for Thursday, January 16 at 5 p.m.