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Commissioners ironing out next year’s budget

ELIZABETH HEFFNER
Staff Writer

Lincoln County’s Board of Commissioners made minor changes to the proposed Fiscal Year 2014-2015 budget during their final budget work session on Friday.
After another lengthy discussion regarding the proposed solid waste fee changes, county commissioners were able to come to a unanimous decision. Starting July 1, companies that pick up household trash from Lincoln County residences will no longer be able to dump their waste for free. The Lincoln County landfill will now charge a fee of $38 per load. It is possible that residents could expect to see their rates increase from garbage collection companies to cover the additional fee.
Another major changes involves discontinuing accepting large loads of construction debris at convenience sites. According to Public Works director Don Chamblee, only amounts the size of a wheelbarrow load or less will now be accepted. Those with larger loads of debris will be required to transport it to the county’s landfill in Crouse.
The fee for truckloads of construction debris has also been raised from $28 to $30. While current homeowners have been able to dispose of debris from their “do-it-yourself” construction projects with the purchase of an $81 annual access sticker, starting in July, they will be charged the $30 fee contractors are currently required to pay.
Commissioner Carroll Mitchem was the most vocal board member to express disapproval of the proposed changes, stating that homeowners should not be required to pay the $30 fee if they have paid for the $81 annual access sticker.
“It’s been a big change, and we knew it would be controversial,” County Manager Tracy Jackson said. “But we’ve known that this has been a problem in terms of revenue for a while now.”
More discussion regarding the ongoing water, animal control and 911 communications center contracts between the county and Lincolnton is expected for the board’s next meeting. According to Board of Commissioners chairman Alex Patton, Lincolnton’s City Council submitted a final request for water sales at $1.15 per 1,000 gallons. The City Council decided not to reply to the county’s proposed animal control and 911 contracts in their latest communication.
“So, we’re basically back at square one,” Patton said.
“When are we going to draw the line in the sand for animal services and 911?” County Commissioner Carl Robinson said.
The board voted to continue the discussion at the June 16 meeting.
A capital reserve fund has now been established for the West Lincoln Public Library. After hearing a presentation from the Library’s Board of Trustees last month regarding the library’s current challenges, Mitchem felt it was time to take action. His motion, which would establish a $5,000 capital reserve fund for the library branch, was unanimously approved.
The Fiscal Year 2014-2015 budget is expected to be approved at the board’s June 16 meeting. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Citizens Center.

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