Boyle and Mercer County fiscal courts moved forward Tuesday with a plan to join forces on a regional hazardous waste disposal grant.
Donna Fechter, the solid waste coordinator for Boyle County, presented the $16,500 grant before both fiscal courts, explaining that it would target dangerous chemicals found in everyday households.
Both counties already collect certain hazardous waste items, such as batteries, paints and motor oil. But the grant would allow for a special day-long event where people could dispose of more products not currently covered, including brake fluid, aerosols, transmission fluid, fire extinguishers, kerosene and gasoline, along with household products.
“We want to try to get the things uderneath the cabinet, in the kitchen, where kids can get their hands on it,” Fechter said at the Boyle County meeting.
She said the grant has a much better chance of being awarded to Boyle County if it takes on a partner instead of going it alone.
Boyle and Mercer counties have had a fine working relationship in other areas, such as sharing the same jail; this would be another mutually beneficial relationship, Fechter said.
Some members of the Mercer County fiscal court were not immediately sold on the idea. Magistrates Ronnie Sims and Larry Peyton expressed concerns that Mercer County may have to expend some of its own revenue on the event.
“I’m all for recycling and finding safe ways to dispose of household waste,” Sims said. “But I’d like to find out more about this process before I vote ‘yes.’”
Magistrate Peyton, who initially voiced financial concerns, came up with another idea for waste disposal.
“One thing I’d like to see down the road is the companies that make these products, and profit from them, take some responsibility in their disposal,” he said.
Mercer County Fiscal Court gave the initial OK 3-2. Fechter will return for final approval of her plan at a Mercer Fiscal Court meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 22.
“I’m grateful to the court for allowing us to submit the grant as a regional grant,” Fechter said. “If we are able to take it to that step, we can submit the bid and have a much better chance of getting the grant money.”
Magistrate Wayne Jackson was one of the three ‘yes’ votes.
“It’s interesting because it initiates the grant process,” he said.
Sims agreed it’s an interesting idea but maintained reservations, saying he needed more answers.
Fechter said she looks forward to answering these questions in two weeks.
The Boyle County Fiscal court voted unanimously to draft the grant as a joint partnership between Boyle and Mercer counties. If the counties are successful in receiving the grant, the special hazardous materials collection day event would probably be held sometime in October, Fechter said.
In other business, the Mercer court:
- approved a cost of living raise of 1.5 percent for elected officials and 2 percent for all other county employees;
- informed the public that the deadline for budget requests for fiscal year 2011-12 is March 17.
Advocate-Messenger staff writer Mandy Simpson contributed to this report.