Commissioners face issues on SRO, landfill

Friday, August 21, 2009

Now that Marshall County commissioners are within a month of adopting their next annual budget for a fiscal year that started nearly two months ago, several major decisions are to be finalized.

Votes on these and other maters are set for the commissioners' monthly meeting scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Monday in the Courthouse Annex on Lewisburg's public square where the decisions include:

* Authorization of County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett to renew a school resource officer program with the school system and the Sheriff's Department for law officers who patrol three high schools and Lewisburg Middle School. The issue has been contentious because Lewisburg partially funds a city police officer at the middle school and the Police Department pays him much more than what sheriff's deputies are paid.

* Approval of changes to an agreement with Waste Management Inc., the company that runs Cedar Ridge Landfill. The company has been conserving the space left at Cedar Ridge as it's sought a state permit to use more of its land for the disposal of trash. With the reduction of deliveries, the landfill's payment of host fees has decreased and revenue to the county's solid waste fund has dropped. That's adversely affected the county's recycling program and Waste Management has offered to help. To do so, changes must be made in the agreement and that affects the county's budget.

* Authorizing Liggett to sign an agreement toward securing a new health insurance policy for county employees. Personnel and related costs are almost always the largest part of any government or business budget and increased costs prompted a proposal that was met with extensive opposition among employees because the annual deductible would have gone from $500 to $2,500. Now, a different insurance broker is to be hired to land a satisfactory policy.

* Finalization of a contract to renew the building maintenance agreement for janitorial services at county-owned buildings. The process to receive competitive prices for the service has been in dispute. The apparent best price is from a Columbia-based service that's been employed for years to clean county buildings. The other two services are based in Lewisburg.

Meanwhile, commissioners are set to: Officially withdraw plans to audit host fees at the landfill where Cedar Ridge leaders wanted a written agreement on release of information and some county officials saw that as a reluctance to cooperate; Authorize the county mayor to accept a state grant for nursing services at the county health department; and acceptance of an American flag and flag pole to be used at the recently opened ambulance station in Chapel Hill.