By LYDIA BERGLAR
The March 2 meeting of the Dade County Commission involved discussion of recycling program expenses and the dire outlook for the future of recycling. Additionally, a citizen brought concerns regarding her neighbor’s aggressive dog and dumping of construction materials before the commission. Another citizen discussed a wine venue that he hopes to establish in Wildwood.
Before the regularly scheduled meeting, the county held a public hearing regarding the abandonment of Filler Road (on Sand Mountain). County Executive Ted Rumley explained that if approved, responsibility for the road would transfer from the county to the property owners.
Steve Filler (property owner) explained, “We’ve had trouble with people vandalizing and stealing things. We’ve put up cameras and done a lot of things to try to prevent it. It hasn’t stopped. This was recommended to us to make it safe and secure again.”
This issue was added to the consent agenda and approved during the regular meeting.
During the regular meeting, Emergency Management Agency Director Alex Case requested ARPA funds (totaling $14,096.10) to update the Dade County Sheriff’s Office body and vehicle cameras. Case explained, “We’re going through the same thing with the city. Technology is changing.”
Regarding the GDOT Public Transit Procurement Policy update, Don Townsend (chief financial officer and county clerk) explained that according to the new policy, “The big thing with ARPA and federal funds is to buy American first.”
The commissioners then heard from Billy Massengale (director of public works) about the rising cost of running the recycling program in Dade County. He focused primarily on the issue of cardboard.
Recycling centers gather materials and sell them to other companies who use the materials, but as the demand for recycling has diminished (in part because China no longer accepts most recycling), revenue from recycling has diminished. Meanwhile, the cost of running recycling programs remains the same or increases.
Massengale reported, “Newspaper brings $0. Cardboard is $5 a ton, but it used to be above $160 a ton. Plastic is a penny a pound.” Dade County has been losing money because of the cost to transport materials.
Local businesses used to collect cardboard and sell it themselves, but since that is no longer profitable, many now bring cardboard to the transfer station. In Townsend’s words, “What’s happening now is the county is subsidizing businesses to recycle their cardboard.”
Massengale recommended that cardboard be brought across the scales and charged in the same manner that garbage is charged. Rumley said they would look into the numbers and make a decision next month.
See next week’s edition of the Sentinel for further explanation of the recycling issue.
A citizen of Wildwood, Cindy Dency, brought two concerns before the commission. First, she explained that her neighbor’s dog has acted menacingly toward her grandchildren on three occasions. Second, she wanted to know if her neighbors are allowed to dump construction materials on their property.
She said, “Everyone I spoke to said there’s no leash law, there’s nothing that can be done. But after the second time, I was ready for the dog with pepper spray…It tried to nip one of my grandkids…I told the neighbor’s daughter thank you for putting the dog up [after that incident], but she slammed the door in my face…On another incident, he chased my granddaughter into the house [on my property], barking menacingly.”
Dency added, “The dogs are also a nuisance because they run free. They are making trails in the woods up behind my house which is causing some erosion.”
Rumley explained, “We have a vicious dog ordinance here that we enforce strictly. They just have to show aggression…The deputy, the law enforcement people, will make a report, they’ll interview you, they’ll go to the dog owner and make a determination that day.”
Dency explained her second issue. “My other issue is, they are dumping construction material on their property and I have to see it when I’m in my woods. It’s unsightly and it can decrease my property values.”
Rumley explained, “If that construction debris comes off their property, in the state of Georgia, they can bury it on their property. If they bring anything from outside, they’re in violation of a Georgia statute.”
Dency confirmed that her neighbors are bringing materials from offsite onto the property. Rumley noted that he could handle the issue.
Another citizen, Ryan Faircloth, addressed the commission regarding a wine venue he plans to open in Wildwood off of Carroll Road. This would be a wine tasting venue, but not a winery.
He explained, “You can sip the wine, drink the wine, and also purchase a bottle of wine. And there will be food too. Josh Carter (with St. John’s Restaurant), he’s got me a chef. They do food and wine pairings. We thought we’d have a few craft beers as well.”
He gave a sample brochure to the commissioners, saying, “I’d like to showcase some of the local history as art on the walls.”
Faircloth has several ordinances he is working through regarding the venue, location, and alcohol sales.
Rumley later discussed issues with the railroads (CSX and Norfolk Southern), saying “We do have federal people working on this. We don’t take this lightly. Chattanooga’s had their fill of it too.”
He explained, “They’re back to blocking crossings north of Trenton especially. On Saturday, they were blocked up there for around four hours. We’ve had people who had to sleep in their cars because they couldn’t get home…Not to mention the train crossings where we’ve had accidents.”