Town garbage increase dependent on SWA proposal
Marlinton residents and business owners attended a special meeting of the town Health and Sanitation Committee at the Marlinton Municipal Building last week, hearing discussion about the possibility of raising the town garbage rates.
Rates were last raised in 2006. The committee proposed two rate increase alternatives - 25 percent and 30 percent.
The 25 percent proposed increase would raise residential rates from $25 every other month to $31.50 every other month. The 30 percent increase would raise rates to $32.50 every other month.
The breakdown of commercial rates would be dependent on the business. In Marlinton, there are nine different commercial rate categories and the size and nature of the business dictates which category it falls under.
"We have been absorbing losses for at least six years, trying to keep our rates where they have been," said council member Norris Long. "We've hit the last hole in our belt."
Town council member Natasha McMann said this was just a preliminary meeting and once the committee makes its recommendations to town council next month at its regular meeting, council members will still have the final say, and don't necessarily have to follow the committee's suggestions.
Business owner and resident Todd Kahler disagreed with a statement made by Long and asked the committee to find a solution without raising rates.
"I know you said you run the town like a business- kind of," said Kahler. "You can't really go out of business, and your customers are forced to be customers. That's a little different. Just please look into it and find a way."
Mayor Joe Smith said everything is dependent on a recent proposal made by the Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority. In August 2011, the SWA applied for a tipping fee increase of $15 per ton through the West Virginia Public Service Commission. The SWA's current tipping fee is $57.75 per ton. Smith said if the SWA does not increase its tipping fees, the town would not raise its rates.
"We are researching what we might have to do," said Smith. "If the Public Service Commission comes back and says no [to the SWA], then we're not gonna do anything."
SWA office administrator Mary Clendenen said the PSC hasn't made a final decision yet, but the deadline for the administrative law judge's decision is June 21.
Smith said he was pleased with the outcome of the meeting.