109 Board meets; no action, no discussion
By JOE REDMON
The regular monthly meeting of the 109 Board contained a full agenda for discussion and action. But, once Chairman Bim Wardrip and the assembled members (Bill Hofmann, Shannon Loose, Mark Hubbard, Jim Harris and Heber Burchett, Packy Vessels was unable to attend) dispensed with accepting minutes from prior meetings and approved collection and financial reports, it quickly became clear they were in no mood to discuss anything or act upon the remainder of the agenda.
Meade County Solid Waste & Recycle coordinator Mark Gossett issued his monthly report, stating the “austerity program continues.” He added that bids were on standby, pending Fiscal Court action. When later asked whether he had spoken with the judge executive about the bids, he replied, “no.”
MCSW&R attorney Bob Heleringer issued his update, commenting that he continues to monitor foreclosure actions locally. He added he had been attending to a complaint filed by former MCSW&R coordinator Wanda Terrell concerning an allegation by her of an open meetings violation by the board. While specifically stating this wasn’t an admission, he reiterated to board members the importance of “carefully following the law.” Heleringer also described a possible lawsuit from an attorney in Hardin County who claimed his car suffered thousands of dollars of damage due to hitting a garbage can in the road. This person alleges the 109 Board is liable for the container being in the roadway. Heleringer asked for board guidance in how to deal with the complaint. The board wondered how MCSW&R could possibly be held liable for such an incident (Heleringer agreed) and decided to take no action.
After returning from a closed session in which no action was reportedly taken, the board essentially cancelled the rest of the agenda, voting to table it. Harris asked why the board couldn’t ask Fiscal Court for a “temporary increase” in rates. His thought was the board couldn’t continue to operate spending $131,000 per month while collecting substantially less. When answers weren’t forthcoming from his fellow members, he complained further that “we can’t wait on Fiscal Court.” At this point, Hofmann stated he believed the board couldn’t act without guidance from the court, especially since the board’s future is an open question. Loose made a motion to table this discussion until the next meeting. The motion passed.
Loose or Hoffman then made a motion for each of the following agenda items to be “tabled”: Finances and possible future methods of solid waste collection. five-year plan. Conflict of interest statements. Each of these was tabled until the next meeting. During the public session, this reporter was able to ask the following questions the board then ignored: 1. How does a passed motion or resolution to dissolve the 109 Board by Fiscal Court absolve this board of its duties? 2. Who is responsible for solid waste management in Meade County today? 3. How much does $12.50 per month collect for MCSW&R? 4. Who is responsible for the county’s five-year solid waste management plan? At one point, the question was directed to attorney Heleringer and his response was, yes, the 109 Board remains charged with management of solid waste. He then cited Circuit Court Judge Robert Miller’s ruling of three years ago to support his thinking on the authority of the 109 Board vs. Fiscal Court. None of this appeared to spark interest in the members of the board to discuss these issues, as they stated they preferred to wait for Fiscal Court to take the lead. The next scheduled meeting of the 109 Board is the third Monday of the month, Jan. 15, 2007, at 7 p.m.