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Rumpke fuel surcharges to increase trash bills

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By Jimmie Earls

Nobody likes to see a higher-than-expected bill in the mail, but residents of Washington County will see a slight increase in their quarterly trash bill from Rumpke. The culprit is a multi-tiered fuel surcharge that the company imposes when fuel prices pass a certain level.

Three percent is added onto the flat $39.00 quarterly trash fee if fuel prices go above $2.50 per gallon, with additional three-perfect increases every 25 cents. The Washington County Fiscal Court discussed the surcharge during its meeting held on Friday.

“The mid-west index for diesel fuel for July, August and September is determined on the third Monday of May,” said Washington County Judge-Executive John Settles. “On May 17, the index was $3.067 per gallon, which puts us into the third level. That means that customers will see a nine-percent fuel surcharge.”

Through negotiations with Rumpke, the Washington County Fiscal Court has lowered the surcharge to six percent.

“We have talked to Rumpke, and because fuel prices are fluctuating and have dropped some, they have agreed to drop three percent of the surcharge. So we’re looking at a six-percent fuel surcharge. That’s an additional $2.34 per quarter for each customer for a total of $41.34.”

This isn’t the first time the fuel surcharge has been either absorbed by the county or negotiated with Rumpke. For the first quarter of 2010, the court paid the surcharge for residents. In the second quarter, Rumpke dropped the fuel surcharge due to a breach of contract on its part. Because of those incidents, trash customers in the county have paid the flat $39.00 rate during the past two quarters.

Magistrate Benjamin Settles made a motion for the county to absorb three percent of the fuel surcharge for the coming quarter with a second by magistrate Greg Simms. The court voted unanimously in favor.

Magistrate Hal Goode said that in the future, the county is looking to work with Rumpke to revert back to a flat fee with no surcharges.

“I think we’re going to discuss it now,” said Goode. “The solid waste committee is going to hook up with Rumpke over the next couple of weeks since the fluctuation this year has been so up and down. It’s hard to get a grasp on it.”

When county trash customers receive their next bill, the amount due for the third quarter of 2010 will be $40.17 instead of the normal $39.00. If the full nine-percent fuel surcharge had been added, customers would have paid $42.51.

In other county business…

• Judge Settles announced that not only is the county government eligible for flood aid from FEMA, but also that individuals in the county may seek funding. In addition, residents who sustained damage from flooded basements due to the heavy rains may file claims. Residents must call FEMA and request a claim packet, which they must complete. FEMA is expected to open a temporary office in the county in the coming days. County residents who wish to file a claim may call 1-800-621-3362 or by visting www.disasterassistance.gov on the Internet.

• The court had the second reading of its 2010-11 budget. Magistrate Billy Riney motioned to approve the budget, with a second by Benjamin Settles. The courted voted 5-1 in favor, with Goode abstaining due to his position as SWEDA director. The county provides some funding for SWEDA in its budget. Pending publication of the budget, it will go into effect July 1.

• Sheriff Tommy Bartley put forth a request to the court to hire Sally Rios as a full-time court security officer for the Washington County Judicial Center and give her full benefits. Rios has been working part-time as a CSO, but Bartley would like to retain her on staff since she has drawn interest from the Springfield Police Department. Bartley also fears that some of the county’s CSOs will find employment elsewhere once the new judicial center opens in Marion County. Bartley requested her salary be set at $9 an hour, with $8 per hour being reimbursed by the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts and the county supplementing the income with $1 per hour. Another benefit of having Rios on staff is her ability to communicate with Spanish-speaking inmates.

“She is dependable and she’s very good with people,” said Judge Settles. “Her primary purpose is to serve as a court security officer, but her bilingual ability is a definite benefit.”

The court voted unanimously to approve the benefits and salary supplement for Rios.