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Closing of St. Luke compactor canceled

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- The St. Luke compactor site has gotten a last-minute reprieve.

County crews were expected to begin dismantling the site today, Shenandoah County Administrator Doug Walker said Tuesday. Site owner Cliff Wetzel hadn't signed a new lease, which was due Dec. 15, according to a letter from Walker to Wetzel.

There are 13 compactor sites in the county, he said, and the St. Luke location is one of five which the county contracts for both the site rental and its operation. That means the owner opens and closes the site, keeps it clean and operates the compactor several times a day, Walker said.

Some sites are operated by part-time county staff, he said. Walker said the IRS had an issue with the situation.

"Their concern is that we had contract employees doing the same work as paid employees," he said.

So, the county folded the rental and operation agreements into a single lease, Walker said.

"The board approved the leases and then sent the leases out to the property owners to execute," Walker said. "We have received them all back except for the one from St. Luke.

"There was no change in the amount of the lease agreement [at St. Luke]. There were some changes in some of the others where the total amount of the lease of the site and lease of the operations was less."

In the latter cases, the leases were brought up to the highest price, he said.

In a Tuesday afternoon voicemail, Walker reported Wetzel had just brought in a signed lease, canceling the closure.

The current lease expires at the end of the month, and the county needed to remove its equipment before then, Walker said earlier Tuesday.

"So, we're making preparations to do that," Walker had said earlier Tuesday, before the reprieve. "I understand that the owner of the site has been talking to people out there in the county, which is fine."

Some residents had called county administration concerned about where they should take their trash, he said.

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