Board discusses collection site hours

WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County plans to keep its trash compactor sites closed on Thursdays for now.

Supervisors recently approved a fee to cover the cost of collecting and disposing of TV sets and computer monitors at the landfill. The county can expect to collect $23,000-$25,000 per year from the fees, Felling has said. The landfill saw the number of TVs collected double ahead of the fees taking affect Nov. 15, Felling told the board.

District 4 Supervisor Cindy Bailey recently suggested that the county look into using the revenue from TV disposal fees to cover the cost to reopen the compactor sites on Thursdays.

Director of Solid Waste Management Patrick Felling told the Board of Supervisors at its work session Thursday that opening the trash compactor sites on Thursdays would cost more to cover employee salaries – a low estimate of $36,368 per year, Felling advised. Opening on Thursday also would present difficulties with adjusting the schedule, Felling told the board.

The county operates 13 compactor sites that remain open six days per week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Information provided by Felling showed that the county operates more compactor sites than Frederick, Rockingham, Augusta, Warren or Page counties. All counties close their sites one day a week. Shenandoah and Warren county sites remain accessible even when closed.

Counties close sites for one day a week to allow employees to perform necessary maintenance to the equipment and grounds without users on the premises, Felling explained. Opening the county sites seven days per week would create difficulties for staff working on the equipment and facilities and also could create a safety hazard for the public. Employees sometimes need to perform welding, grading or paving that would create a risk to users moving on the site, Felling added.

The county holds contracts with some private landowners who rent property for the compactor sites. Contracts specifically indicate that sites close on Thursdays. The county would need to renegotiate contracts to open sites on Thursdays.

Felling’s department changed the schedule for existing part-time employees to comply with changes in state law regarding hours worked during the week. The schedule changes led to less coverage for the compactor sites and most part-time employees work the maximum number of hours allowed under the federal rules, Felling said.

The county could close a site to perform maintenance or repairs as need but this random approach might put out some residents, Felling advised.

Bailey also asked about the status of the compactor site in the St. Luke’s area. The contract expires at the end of the year and the county might need to find a new location for the compactor unless it buys the property. County Administrator Mary T. Price said she has sought an appraisal of the property. Vice Chairman Richard Walker said he also has inquired about another potential piece of property for the compactor.

Closing a site might save the county enough money to allow it to open the other compactors on Thursdays, Bailey said.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com.