Tire disposal costs now in county's hands

By Megan R. Harrell

STAR STAFF

   McKittrick Tire Shredders Assoc. Inc. were at the Carter County Landfill this week and removed 260 tons of tires. McKittrick Inc. comes to the landfill once or twice a year to shred and dispose of Carter County's old tires. The service costs the county approximately $70 per ton. The state grant that paid for the disposal of tires has been cut in half because of budget restraints and the cost has ended up in the county's lap.
   Two years ago the state gave Carter County $40,000 in grant funds to dispose of tires. This year the state has allocated only $22,000 and this week's shredding is estimated to cost the same amount. It will be six months before the state sends more funds. The County Commission is responsible for the remainder of funds needed to pay for any additional shredding.
   The Commission must decide whether to impose a tax to pay for tire disposal or institute a fee for dumping tires that state law requires the county landfill to accept. Carefully monitored air pollution laws prevent the county from burning tires. It is also illegal to bury tires because of ground contamination.
   State laws do not allow the county to charge the public for dumping tires if state funds cover the cost of disposal. After the funds are gone, however, the public may be charged a fee. Carter County Executive Truman Clark will propose that the Commission do just that. The fee will take care of the costs no longer covered by state revenue so the landfill can continue to accept the public's old tires.
   The fee will only affect tire dealers that dump at the landfill. Dealers that were never charged in the past will be charged $75 per ton of tires. The private residents will continue to pay $1 per tire they bring to the landfill.
   The surplus from the tire fees will go to the county to cover the cost of servicing and housing the tires. "We service on tipping fees. We do it all on what we generate here in revenue," said Ed Buckles, Solid Waste Director.
   Each county in Tennessee will have similar situations to deal with because of the state budget crunch. Neighboring counties have to pay as much as $90 a ton to dispose of tires and their fees for dumping are higher than Carter County's. "We are going to have to make sure that we do not take tires from other counties at our landfill," Clark said.
   The County Commission is expected to make a decision on the fees for disposal the second week in January.