Washington County Board of Commissioners wants discount landfill permits for disabled vets

Program would cost the county an estimated $15,000 a year

April 05, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS |

The Washington County Board of Commissioners is interested in extending the county's senior discount on landfill permits to all disabled veterans in the county.

Under the proposed change, disabled veterans of any age would pay only $95 for a one-year landfill permit, the rate currently offered to seniors age 62 and older. The regular one-year permit fee is $125 and could go up to $130 in July.

The veteran discount would cost the county an estimated $15,000 a year, County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said. Funds to cover the cost would come from capital reserves, county Budget and Finance Director Debra S. Murray said.

Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham said Tuesday that she was in favor of including the proposal for the veteran discount in the budget the county takes to a public hearing on May 10, and the other commissioners nodded their agreement.

The idea of a landfill permit discount for disabled veterans was suggested in September by Disabled American Veterans Chapter 14.

Chapter member Ernie Unger asked the commissioners to consider waiving landfill fees for those with service-connected, 100-percent disability.

Special license plates already issued to members of Disabled American Veterans would make it easy to verify veterans' status at the landfill, Unger said.

Commissioners suggested then that the proposal should be considered as part of the budget process so that citizens could comment on the proposal at a public hearing.

The proposal currently on the table would apply to disabled veterans regardless of their level of disability, Gregory Murray said.

The $15,000 program cost would be added to a net loss of about $457,000 projected for the next fiscal year from the county's solid waste permit, landfill, mulch and compost and recycling programs, Debra Murray said.

That figure is the net loss if the commissioners approve a series of proposed fee increases and cost-cutting measures. Without those measures, the net loss would be about $1 million, according to a handout distributed to the commissioners.

Capital reserves will cover the losses in the next fiscal year, but over the coming months, the commissioners will be asked to examine ways to make the programs, particularly recycling, self-sufficient in future years, Gregory Murray said.


Related story: County eyes raising landfill fees, instituting recycling fee and eliminating recycling drop-boxes

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