By Ray King

A majority of the members of the Jefferson County Quorum Court voted in favor of increasing the fee county residents pay to have their garbage picked up.

Meeting Monday night, the county’s legislative body approved by a vote of 10-2 a proposed ordinance that will raise the current fee of $20.28 to $26.72, effective until Dec. 31, 2024. Justices of the Peace Alfred Carroll and Brenda Bishop Gaddy cast the only no votes and Justice of the Peace Cedric Jackson was absent.

County Judge Gerald Robinson said the increased fees are necessary because in previous years, Waste Management has increased their costs to the county, but the county failed to pass those increases on to consumers. That, he said, left the county in the hole in excess of $100,000 annually, money that had to come out of county general.

Waste Management will charge the county $18,12 per customer and the county will add fees including posting, admin fees/software, office supplies and printing, commissions and taxes. County residents will pay about $72 additionally\.

The current contract with Waste Management expires in 2024 and Robinson said his administration will “look at other ways to lower costs so we won’t be held hostage by Waste Management.”
After County Tax Collector Tony Washington’s bid to raise the salary of his chief deputy to $50,000 annually failed in October, Washington brought the matter back to the Quorum Court Monday and this time it was successfully.

Washington said in a letter to the Finance Committee that chief deputies for all the other elected officials are paid at least $50,000 annually and he wanted his chief deputy to be paid the same amount without placing a burden on the county.

What Washington proposed was to transfer the current salary slot for the chief deputy, which is $36,000, from County General to the Collector’s Automated Fund, then take another $14,000 from that fund to bump the chief deputy’s salary to the level of other chief deputies. He would then take $28,000 from the Automated Fund and put it in County General. The County would be saving $8,000 annually, the difference between money in the Automated Fund and County General.

Justice of the Peace Alfred Carroll cast the only no vote, saying that sizeable raises like the chief deputy was receiving do not demonstrate a fiscally responsible attitude and that the current chief deputy tax collector “knew what the job paid when she came here.” Carroll suggested holding off and putting the proposal in the 2021 budget but failed to convince other members of the court.

Before committee meetings began, Robinson announced  that three employees at the tire recycling center tested positive for COVID-19 and the center is currently closed while the employees quarantine.