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County OKs fee waiver for apartment complex

jacksonRiver Walk Apartments, an eight-building complex in Cullowhee, will get a waiver on the $16,500 it paid in solid waste fees this year, Jackson County commissioners decided unanimously last week.

Basically, solid waste director Chad Parker told commissioners that right now River Walk is paying double for its trash disposal. That’s the situation they want the waiver to fix. 

Jackson County charges a solid waste fee to each of its taxpayers, with the amount dependent on the number of bedrooms a property contains. The money supports the staffed recycling centers the county operates for citizens to take their trash and recyclables. Commercial trash pickup companies, however, pay the county a “tipping fee” to drop their hauls off at the county transfer station, where trash awaits transportation to the Georgia landfill Jackson County uses. They build that cost into the rates they charge their customers. 

Since gaining its certificate of occupancy toward the end of July, River Walk has been paying both ways. 

“They haul it about every two weeks, and if you do the math on that it comes out somewhere around $16,000,” Parker told commissioners. “In a year’s time it’s similar as far as revenue for the county.”

“It’s six one way, half a dozen to another,” agreed Commission Chairman Brian McMahan. “We in the end would get the money back.” 

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The only reason the request had to come all the way to the commissioners, rather than stopping with the Solid Waste Board, is that county ordinance says property owners can apply for waivers only between Jan. 1 and June 30 each year. Keith Martin, owner of River Walk, didn’t get his certificate of occupancy until July 20 and hadn’t realized he needed to apply for a waiver before then, Parker said. 

That might be a deadline commissioner should consider revising, McMahan said. 

“I’d be in favor of having the Solid Waste Board draft a revision to that policy that would give county staff the flexibility to make those kinds of adjustments more than just once a calendar year,” he said.

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