Randolph County Commissioner Mike Taylor took issue Wednesday with an Elkins City Councilman's recent comments about the county's role in regard to the Elkins-Randolph County Landfill, labeling the statements "improper," "not factual" and just plain "wrong."
At the outset of the commission's midweek meeting, Taylor responded to statements made by Councilman Mark Scott at City Council's meeting Monday, when it voted 5-2 to approve on first reading a proposed ordinance that would raise sanitation rates to support the Elkins-Randolph County Landfill.
"(Scott's comments) are erroneous and without merit, and I strenuously object to them," Taylor said Wednesday. "They were improper and I just think it's wrong."
The landfill, which has been closed since September 2011, is facing $262,274 in debt, and has no revenue to cover its $333,700 annual operating cost.
To address that issue, the proposed city ordinance would raise city residents' garbage collection rates $6.25 per month and commercial customers' garbage collection rates $10.10 per month. The ordinance calls for a 32-percent hike for all customers, which includes fees for dumpsters and roll-offs.
Scott said Randolph County should chip in funds to help stabilize the landfill's financial situation because many county residents dumped their waste at the landfill during Free Days. Since the landfill has closed county residents now dispose of their waste within city limits, Scott said.
"The city has become the Randolph County landfill ... they're dumping it in our dumpsters because there's nowhere else to put it ... the County Commission just kind of put the problem on us, and now we're giving it to the residents, but not all the county residents, just our customers," Scott is quoted as saying in the July 2 edition of The Inter-Mountain.
Taylor highlighted those comments and read them aloud during Wednesday's commission meeting prior to delivering a public response.
"For him (Scott) to make a statement like that ... and to put it on the back of the commission is improper on his part," Taylor said. "On the one hand, the city is wanting our help. On the other hand, they're wanting to point fingers.
"Let me be clear: this commission had no vote, had no voice, had nothing to do with the opening, closing and maintaining of the landfill," Taylor continued. "I'm not saying that we aren't going to try to help the city, but I don't appreciate reading in the paper that we helped create the problem when we had absolutely nothing to do with it."
Following the adjournment of the meeting, Taylor responded to another statement made by Scott Monday in which he contended that, "the county should have made sanitation coverage mandatory."
Taylor told The Inter-Mountain sanitation coverage is already mandatory under state code and for the county to "make it mandatory" would have been redundant.
He also noted that the county hired a litter control officer about a year ago and said that official is "working with various agencies to curb or curtail illegal dumping."
"I don't know how they (City Council) can prove that it's people outside the city coming into the city and dumping waste," Taylor said. "The state of West Virginia set up Free Dump Day, and there are residents from Barbour and Tucker and other surrounding counties coming to dump, so number one, it's not solely Randolph County citizens. And number two, the Randolph County Commission had nothing to do with setting (Free Dump Day) up."
To insinuate otherwise is "not right" and "not factual," he added. County commissioners plan to attend the next Elkins City Council meeting to discuss the issues with council members.
"Show me where we're contractually obligated to help you," Taylor said.
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