Shocking increase in solid waste expenditures

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New Cannon County Executive Brent Bush reported over the weekend the expenditures for the county's Solid Waste operation nearly doubled their monthly average during July and August.

"On 1 September I began to audit/review budgets," Bush wrote on his Facebook page. "In the Solid Waste Budget we have (a) budgeted for 40K monthly in expenses, but during the months of July and August we spent double that amount at 71K and 84K, respectively.

"We also had 29K in the budget for salary and I estimated that we will need over 50K to get to the end of the year.

"That forced reduction in service, back to basics, no transfer station, and the layoff of employees. However I (am) open to suggestions and will provide all Cash flow and budget documents upon request."

Bush did not indicate in his Facebook post the areas of the Solid Waste budget which incurred the shocking increase in spending during the first two months of the fiscal year.

It is also unknown at this time whether Bush will seek an investigation to determine whether any waste, fraud or abuse occurred during that time, or in prior months.

Major expenditures in the Solid Waste Budget are tipping fees at Middle Point Landfill in Rutherford County and the cost of paying an independent trucking contractor to haul the trash to the landfill.

The past two years those two expenses have cost the county an average of $420,000 and are budgeted this fiscal year at $400,000.

The county's contract with the trucking company who was doing the hauling ended on Sept. 1. Bush said in an email to media on Saturday a new person will begin hauling the trash to the landfill as of Sept. 10, but did not provide an identity or the details of the arrangement.

According to the county's Cash Flow Analysis for Solid Waste, the balance at the end of August was $6,454. However, a transfer of $100,000 was made to Solid Waste from the General Fund on Sept. 1, which is estimated to leave a balance of $96,784 at the end of this month.

Additionally, the county's solid waste costs should see a dramatic decline beginning this month following Bush's decision to close the transfer station, the county commission's decision to not pay the tipping fees of other government entities and independent contractors who haul county trash to Middle Point and the firing of four employees.

The result of those actions mean over 1,000 county residents and businesses who will pay property taxes for the next 10 months to have their trash hauled to and deposited at the landfill will now be forced to pay someone else to provide them.

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