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Meetings planned to address solid waste hauling

If you have thoughts and opinions about who should be picking up your trash, and if you would like to see a return of curbside recycling in Warren County, you’ll have your chance to express yourself in a public meeting next week.

Warren Fiscal Court agreed last week to hold a public meeting Jan. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the county courthouse to hear public comments on solid waste and recycling proposals.

In a second meeting, scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 19 at the courthouse, the fiscal court magistrates will hear presentations from potential vendors and ask questions.

It’s all part of a lengthy process of choosing new solid waste vendors and perhaps selecting a vendor to resurrect a curbside recycling program that ended in April 2020.

Shawn Alcott, the attorney representing the county’s division for environmental planning and assistance, said the Jan. 18 meeting will be a chance for county residents to be heard as proposals have started to come in from potential vendors.

“We invite the public to come and tell us what they think,” Alcott said. “This is an opportunity for the public to help fiscal court understand their perspective.”

The county has gone through a monthslong process of advertising for potential solid waste and recycling vendors, including spending a total of more than $3,000 to advertise in the Louisville and Nashville markets.

The advertising effort seems to have paid off, with the county receiving proposals from local companies Scott Waste, BG Dumpster, Republic Services, Green River Waste, Shelby Recycling, Blue Moon Sanitation, Taylor Sanitation and TPM Inc.

Utah-based Recyclops, which provides recycling services in multiple states and has a presence in the Nashville area, has also submitted a proposal.

The number of proposals and the effort to resurrect recycling could lead to some big changes.

“There are interesting times ahead with solid waste and possibly recycling,” said Stan Reagan, coordinator of the county’s division for environmental planning and technical assistance. “We hope to have some interesting things to report in the next few weeks.

“I hope everyone likes change, because I think it’s coming.”

The biggest possible change would be the return of curbside recycling, a program that ended nearly two years ago when Southern Recycling succumbed to declining market forces and ended a program that it started in 1995.

Curbside recycling’s demise began in 2018, when China stopped accepting plastics and other recyclables, eliminating about half the market for those items.

That drying-up of a key market made recycling of household items a losing proposition for Southern Recycling, a former Houchens Industries holding now owned by California-based SA Recycling, and other companies in the business.

Reagan said markets for recyclables are up but are still “not exactly what they were a few years ago.”

Selection of solid waste and recycling vendors is no small job.

Reagan said about 110,750 to 132,800 tons of solid waste are generated in Warren County each year. All residences and businesses are required to subscribe to solid waste collection under existing franchise ordinances and agreements.

Reagan said franchise fees paid by waste haulers account for annual revenue of about $1.82 million, which is returned to the county’s general fund to help pay for essential services and the county’s solid waste management obligations that are subject to annual review by Kentucky’s Environment and Energy Cabinet.

Currently, Scott Waste Services has an exclusive solid waste contract within the city of Bowling Green but four other companies – Waste Connections, Republic Services, Taylor Sanitation Service and Waste Management Inc. – have non-exclusive franchises in the county.

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.


News
Volunteers still needed for tornado cleanup

On the one-month anniversary of deadly tornadoes ripping through Bowling Green, debris cleanup continues as more volunteers are being sought to assist at the city’s BGStrong Disaster Recovery Center.

Volunteer coordinator Marieca Brown said the focus is now on removing large piles of debris and vegetation, and more manpower and large equipment are needed to do so.

“We will take any help we can get,” Brown said. “What we are really needing are teams with heavy equipment. Our primary focus is getting the streets cleaned up. The trucks can only reach so much debris from the roads, and we still have large piles out there.”

Brown said the center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekday, and volunteers can enter through the back of the former Sears location at Greenwood Mall.

Brown said the large quantity of debris remaining is creating a large demand.

“We will take anyone who has (heavy) equipment ... and we will work to get them on our schedule,” Brown said. “We are needing some volunteers that will be here regularly. We are looking for commitments over a long period of time. We are constantly needing people who can help people shop here as well.”

Bowling Green Director of Public Works Greg Meredith said hard-hit areas like Magnolia, Nutwood and Ridge Creek still have a large number of trees that need to be removed.

“There is still certainly debris from houses, but there is a lot of vegetation. It’s vitally important,” Meredith said of the need for volunteers. “As the debris contractor moves the debris out of the right of ways, it’s essential to have the rest of what has fallen to be moved out to the road. Right now is the time to pickup.”

The cleanup crews took a break last week as the area was hit by several inches of snow.

“Just because of the winter weather, we thought it wouldn’t be safe for our debris contractors to be hauling, but they got back to running as usual on Sunday,” said Josh Moore, Warren County public works director.

City and county governments in December approved contracts with CrowderGulf of Mobile, Ala., for $3.9 million to perform the debris cleanup and with Tetra Tech of California for $1 million to monitor the cleanup effort.

“The county is in better shape than the city,” Moore said. “We have been meeting with our contractors twice a week. We should have a pretty good feel of where we are at by the end of the week. ... We are hopeful to get the county portion removed as quickly as possible.”

Moore said having the debris moved to roadsides for pickup will speed up the process.

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.


News
Evidence being reviewed in downtown shooting

The defense attorney for a Bowling Green man charged in a deadly downtown shooting continues to go over the evidence in the case.

Dederic Anderson, 30, appeared Monday in Warren Circuit Court for a hearing in a criminal case in which he’s charged with murder, two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, tampering with physical evidence and second-degree fleeing or evading police (on foot).

Anderson is accused of shooting Tayveon Bibb, 23, of Bowling Green, on Jan. 10, 2021, in the 300 block of East Main Avenue.

A pretrial conference that had been scheduled for Monday was continued to March 7 because Anderson’s court-appointed attorney, Alyson McDavitt of the state Department of Public Advocacy, was unavailable for court.

Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron asked for the new court date, saying it was his understanding that McDavitt was still in the process of going over discovery evidence in the case with Anderson.

Anderson was arrested seven days after the shooting by the Bowling Green Police Department, which investigated the incident.

City police said officers were called to Three Brothers Bar regarding a report of people possibly having guns there.

As officers patrolled on foot behind the business, they heard gunshots from the front of the building and ran toward the scene, where they found Bibb had been shot five times.

Police spoke with multiple witnesses and learned of an ongoing feud between Bibb and two other men, including Anderson, according to prior court testimony.

During a preliminary hearing last year in Warren District Court, BGPD Detective Rebecca Robbins testified that police learned of prior physical confrontations involving the men and threatening messages sent over Snapchat.

Anderson spoke with detectives Jan. 16 at BGPD headquarters, during which he denied any involvement with the shooting and claimed to have been at a friend’s house on Kelly Road on the night of the incident, Robbins said.

Police made contact with the friend, who provided more details about the night in question, leading police to conclude that Anderson traveled with a group of friends in separate vehicle downtown in the early morning hours Jan. 10, 2021, Robbins said.

Anderson allegedly confessed his involvement in a subsequent interview, with Robbins testifying last year that Anderson admitted firing multiple rounds during a physical confrontation with Bibb.

Anderson then claimed to have sold the firearm to a person in Nashville, Robbins testified.

Police arrested Antwan Britt, 24, of Bowling Green, on a charge of murder last year, but court records do not indicate that an indictment was returned against him.

Megan Sequeira, 35, was arrested in Barren County on a charge of first-degree hindering prosecution/apprehension, but court records show the charge against her was dismissed last month.

– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.


State
AP
Beshear proposes state pre-K funding for every 4-year-old

FRANKFORT – Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear proposed a massive budget increase Monday for Kentucky education, calling for state-funded pre-kindergarten for every 4-year-old as he looked to reshape the debate after House Republicans preempted him with their own spending plan last week.

The governor said his two-year budget plan includes nearly $2 billion in additional funding for preschool through 12th grade. Beshear will present his overall state spending blueprint Thursday in a speech to lawmakers.

“Right now is when we must make the game-changing investments that turn two years of economic gains into 20 years of great prosperity for our people,” the governor said. “It’s how we leapfrog other states. It’s how we ensure we are never 40th or 45th in anything ever again.”

Beshear plans to reveal more details of his proposal ahead of his budget speech. His requests for new spending are well within the state’s means, he said, amid record-high revenue surpluses and unprecedented highs for statewide business investments and job creation.

GOP legislative leaders prefer more restrained spending, noting that the economy has been propped up by huge amounts of federal aid amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beshear’s administration was blindsided by the release of a House budget bill last week as Republicans opted not to wait for the governor’s budget proposals. Lawmakers traditionally have used a governor’s spending blueprint as the starting point for writing budget bills.

The governor blasted House Republicans for circumventing his office in filing the bill covering most state services, including education, health care and public safety.

“Drafting and filing an executive branch budget without the knowledge or input of the executive branch itself is unprecedented,” he said. “It’s unprovoked. It’s unprofessional, unwise and perhaps even unlawful.”

House Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chairman Jason Petrie said last week that the bill reflected months of work by legislative budget panels with input from stakeholders. He said the measure provides “a solid, responsible approach consistent with our state’s needs and obligations and our philosophy that we must carefully consider every allocation we make.”

Beshear said Monday his plan would provide considerably more funding for education – from per-pupil funding and school transportation to providing state-backed universal preschool for 4-year-olds.

A cornerstone of Beshear’s plan is to guarantee pre-K learning for every 4-year-old, with the state fully funding the initiative. The cost – $172 million in each year of the next biennium – is “more than affordable,” he said.

“No longer will tens of thousands of our children be left out of preschool or Head Start, programs that we know provide positive outcomes on children’s early literacy and mathematic skills and foster long-term educational success,” Beshear said.

Beshear’s plan includes a 12.5% increase in per-pupil funding under SEEK, the state’s main funding formula for K-12 schools. That would amount to an extra $397 million in the next two years, he said.

The governor’s two-year budget would raise the amount to $4,300 in the first year and to $4,500 in the second year. Under the House GOP plan, the amount would go to $4,100 in the first year and $4,200 in the second. The current amount is $4,000.

Beshear’s plan would fully fund school districts’ costs for student transportation, freeing up local funds for districts to use on other initiatives. The House GOP said its plan would increase the state’s share to a minimum of 70%, with the state fully covering transportation costs for some districts.

Both versions would provide state funding to cover the entire cost of full-day kindergarten.

The governor proposed a minimum 5% pay raise for all school personnel. Beshear, who faces a tough reelection campaign next year, made raising teacher pay a main objective when he won the governorship in 2019.

Beshear also proposed funding to renovate a number of career and technical education centers.

Meanwhile, the governor said he would propose a nearly 12% funding increase for Kentucky’s higher education system – the largest in decades.


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