By Ray King

The Jefferson County Quorum Court on Monday approved an amended ordinance to increase sanitation fees for county residents despite opposition from a member of the public who contended that the increase was too much.

Christie McCarroll spoke during the public comments section of the meeting and called for the fee to be rolled back.

According to a copy of the contract McCarroll provided to members of the Quorum Court and to the media, Waste Management is charging the county $16.11 each month in 2021 while the county fee will increase from $18.12 to $26.72, an increase of $6.07 through December 2024.

The fees Waste Management will charge the county will increase from $16.11 this year to $16.75 in  2022, $17.42 in 2023 and $18.12 in 2024.

That increase is linked to administration costs such as 35-cents for postage, $1.35 for administrative fee/software, office supplies and printing $3.20, sales taxes of 7.75 percent or $1.92, and a $1.78 commission fee.

McCarroll said in her objection to the increase that based on the current number of households served outside the city limits which she said was 6,904, the county sanitation department, which is part of the road department will generate $184,474.88. By taking off the administrate fees and just charging the fee Waste Management is charging the county would mean a revenue increase of $125,100.48.

According to county figures, they are currently billing 7,943 customers.

After the meeting, Jefferson County Judge Gerald Robinson defended the increase.

In a related matter, the Quorum Court voted to approve the hiring of two employees for the Road Department, one to help with the sanitation billing. Earlier this year, several independent water companies that had collected sanitation fees as a part of their water bill pulled out of collecting and the task of handling the billing fell on Delancia Tatum, Robinson’s administrative Secretary. The person hired will now help Tatum with the billing.

The second person will assist the current Environmental Officer who investigates illegal dumpsites and has started weighing trucks to see if they are overloaded and tearing up county roads.