By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer

During the Sept. 24 work session of the Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC), Gregg Pennington, Morgan County roads and bridges/sanitation supervisor, expressed his interest in reducing the number of times that the county hosts a free turn-in week for solid waste from twice yearly to only once.

Pennington explained to the BOC that each free turn-in week costs the county a substantial amount of money – more than $9,500 during the free week that began on Oct. 15, 2012, according to Pennington – and that free weeks lead to abuses of county services by citizens, especially relating to citizens wanting to unload old tires for free.

The county’s cost for disposing a single truckload of old tires, including wear on county vehicles, is $900, estimated Pennington.

Pennington stated that 312 loads came in during last October’s free week and asked the board to consider only having a free week in the spring and to limit the amount of tires which can come in during the week.

“It’s just costly,” said Pennington. “I think we’d be better served to go to once a year.”

BOC Chair Ellen Warren initially expressed her hesitance to reduce a service to citizens but stated that she would be “willing to try it.”

Commissioner Ron Milton was concerned with the number of loads of solid waste they would receive if there were only one free week in the year, as Pennington had already discussed how congested traffic becomes during the free week.

Pennington stated that people have already been calling to ask for the dates of the next free week, so Commissioner Andy Ainslie recommended that they allow a fall free week this year and discontinue the fall free week next year, leaving only one in the spring.

Warren supported Ainslie’s suggestion and added that they should try to develop some means of limiting abuse of the service for the next spring free week.

The BOC placed County Manager Michael Lamar’s position classification and pay band system on the consent agenda for the Oct. 3 meeting.

The system, which had been discussed at a previous work session, reduced the number of county pay grades to 20 and divides position categories into only 11 groups.

“I think it is going to simplify things a lot,” said Warren.

A memorandum of understanding between the Morgan County Emergency Management Agency (MCEMA) and the Morgan County Amateur Radio Emergency Radio Service was also placed on the Oct. 3 consent agenda.

The memorandum “gives HAM radio operators a seat at the table,” according to Lamar, who described the agreement as “an added benefit” for the county.