Saturday, May 18, 2024

Bedford County Board Considers Code Enforcement to Curb Illegal Dumping at Solid Waste Sites


After a work session on Monday, the Bedford County Board of Supervisors decided against implementing a new decal system aimed at curbing illegal dumping at solid waste sites, for the time being. Instead, discussion centered around possibly introducing a code enforcement role to bolster monitoring and prevent improper dumping, especially by out-of-county residents, at the Forest solid waste center located on U.S. 221.

The suggestion for reinstating a decal system, which had been previously removed in 2008, was brought to the table by Supervisor John Sharp, representing Forest. Sharp highlighted the issue of non-county residents using the Forest facility for dumping waste, a practice he wished to deter with the reintroduction of decals.

During Monday’s meeting, it was made clear that the board was contemplating a code amendment to reintroduce the decal system and was poised to hold a public hearing on the matter. However, following discussions in the work session, this plan was put on hold. Robert Hiss, the County Administrator, had presented a report suggesting that less than 20 jurisdictions within the state currently enforce a similar decal program for solid waste disposal. According to this report, an assessment conducted from March 1 to 10 at the Forest center revealed that out-of-county vehicles constituted only 3% (approximately 1,530) of the traffic. Based on these figures, the report estimated the cost of illegal dumping at the Forest facility, which is the busiest in the county, around $6,669.

However, Supervisor Sharp contested these findings, labeling the estimated cost as “bogus” and arguing that the economic impact was far greater, especially considering the solid waste fund’s deficit exceeding $2.5 million. Sharp suggested that a $25 fee levied on roughly 50,000 vehicles within the county could generate around $1.2 million annually, which could help mitigate the deficit.

Concerns were raised regarding the potential impact a decal system might have on the duties of solid waste attendants. There was hesitation among board members about requiring attendants to confront violators or take on roles akin to law enforcement.

In search of alternative solutions, Edgar Tuck, the board’s chair, proposed the creation of a new position focused specifically on code enforcement as a more cost-effective strategy to counter unauthorized dumping. Meanwhile, upgrading signage to clearly state penalties for non-county residents dumping illegally was another measure taken into consideration.

In the past, a rate change to the personal property tax was implemented as a revenue-neutral measure in place of the decal system. The board reiterated the importance of clear signage to deter illegal dumping and discussed various approaches to address the issue without resorting to a countywide mandate that might seem unnecessary to many.

As the board continues to evaluate different options to tackle the problem of illegal dumping, especially in the rapidly growing Forest area, the commitment to finding an effective and efficient solution remains strong. The board also entertained a presentation on consulting services for solid waste management, underlining the ongoing efforts to refine the county’s approach to managing solid waste in the face of growth and environmental challenges.

Alexandra Bennett
Alexandra Bennett
Alexandra Bennett is a seasoned business journalist with over a decade of experience covering the global economy, finance, and corporate strategies. With a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master's in Business Journalism from Columbia University, Alexandra has built a reputation for her insightful analysis and ability to break down complex economic trends into understandable narratives. Prior to joining our team, she worked for major financial publications in New York and London. Alexandra specializes in mergers and acquisitions, market trends, and economic

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