Trash disposal better served with long-range solutions

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By The Staff

Disposing of trash with minimal impact on the environment is a huge task. Even with recycling programs keeping solid waste from the county’s landfill, the county only has six to seven years left on its capacity.

Disposing of trash for residents has been convenient, mainly because 18 recycling centers and two drop-off centers are operating 50 hours a week, but costly. The county’s solid waste department has been costing more than the revenue coming in the door – that’s an ouch that cannot continue in the best of times, let alone the worst of times.

During a recent workshop meeting, Lake County representatives came and asked for the county’s trash. They’re under contract with a waste-to-energy plant and are not giving them enough solid waste to fulfill their end of the bargain.

The county has transferred its trash to Georgia in the past. Lake County is a neighbor and much closer.

Turning our trash to energy should spark interest in everyone; perhaps even a savings on our electric bill, but certainly a reduction in methane for the environment.

Building a plant of our own is a costly proposition and would mean hefty solid waste assessments in the future. Consultants hired by the county said taxpayers would need to pay $260 annually by the year 2013 to build the plant.

Even a new landfill in the county will cost $188 annually by the year 2018.

There are many issues for Marion County residents, Floridians and anyone else on this planet that would best be solved at a more global level than the county. Solutions to our dwindling water problems could come from a desal plant – but the construction costs are too high for one county.

Disposing of solid waste is another example.

Commissioners need to direct staff to talk trash over the short term with Lake County. And taxpayers need to forget the “no more taxes” refrain on this situation and work toward turning solid waste into methane, electricity and revenue.