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Future of Transfer Station unclear

Commissioners ponder information presented to them in connection with the future of the Johnson County Transfer Station. Photo by Meg Dickens

By Meg Dickens
Freelance Writer
Johnson County has not had access to a local landfill in many years. For trash removal, citizens depend on the local Transfer Station, which transfers these materials to a landfill in Bristol, Tennessee. Now several circumstances are causing the future for this facility to become murky.
Back in September, the discussion on how to keep the Transfer Station as self-sustaining temporarily was put on hold when commissioners shot down the options to either increase tipping fees or property taxes.
Recently, conversations have gone in the opposite direction. Organizations have been asking for breaks on their charges, but commissioners explained doing so could trigger a “snowball effect” and “dangerous precedent” for the already struggling organization.
As previously reported, other funding opportunities have disappeared. Used motor oil and related products that used to bring money into the Transfer Station now cost instead of help.
Hauling these materials can cost the county up to $250 every few months. According to County Mayor Mike Taylor, the current contract with the landfill previously mentioned will end within the next two years, and county dumping prices will almost certainly increase after that.
Problems may arise before the contract expires, though. The Bristol, Tennessee landfill that Johnson County currently uses has been featured in the news lately.
Complaints about the smell permeating the downtown area are rampant, and officials have debated closing the landfill. If that were to happen, Johnson County would have to search for a new site to use and would most likely have to pay increased contract rates, as they have reportedly increased since the county’s last contract.
At this point, there is no obvious solution in sight. Costs for handling these materials have been increasing and seem likely to continue to do so.
As of the last commission meeting, no new ideas to help fund the Transfer Station have been released or enacted. As Mayor Taylor previously told The Tomahawk, “In the meantime, we’ll continue to seek out better contracts and do our best to keep the Transfer Station self-sustaining.”
At this time, there is no mention of shutting down the site.