An epidemic of litter along Warren County roads, a side effect of the coronavirus pandemic, is being addressed through use of private contractors to replace work done in the past by Warren County Regional Jail inmates.

Warren County Public Works Director Josh Moore updated fiscal court Friday on the progress of litter abatement work being done by two private contractors that have picked up 1,210 bags of trash since the contracts began in late November.

Together, contractors Affordable Lawn Care and WDM Lawn Care have worked 65 miles of roads in the county, picking up not only bags of litter but also bulky items like tires, mattresses, furniture and televisions.

“The contractors have worked out well,” Moore told magistrates in a meeting held via Zoom video conference. “We’re trying to get all the main routes cleaned up. There’s still a lot of demand from residents.”

Stan Reagan, the county’s coordinator of environmental planning and assistance, said the county receives about $120,000 in litter abatement funds each year from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.

Much of that money typically goes to the Class D felon program that allows inmates to pick up trash along roads, but the Kentucky Department of Corrections has forbidden the use of inmates on work details outside of jails and prisons during the pandemic.

Reagan and Moore came up with the idea of hiring private contractors to do the litter pickup. Fiscal court approved that plan and an expenditure of $15,000 for anti-litter advertising and public service messages in the Daily News and on television and social media.

The contracts for litter pickup run through the end of March, but Moore said they could be extended if the pandemic continues to keep inmates off the roads.

In another trash-related action, magistrates voted to grant authority for the county’s division for environmental planning and assistance to advertise for bids to clean up another round of illegal open dumps in the county.

In November, fiscal court voted to accept bids from two vendors to clean up seven dumps that had been identified by local residents.

This time, Reagan said 10 dumps have been identified. Although he has been granted authority to advertise for bids, Reagan said he will wait to do that until he hears that his grant application has been accepted by the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection.

Reagan estimates the total cost of cleaning up the 10 sites at $43,888.75, with 75% of that being covered by the state grant.

Reagan is also working on putting out for bid the county’s solid waste (garbage) and recycling contracts. The county has had no curbside recycling program since Southern Recycling ended that program last March, and Reagan isn’t optimistic about getting a new program started in light of the current economic difficulties of recycling.

“I am optimistic that we can have new franchises for solid waste in place in July, but I don’t expect to issue any requests for proposals for solid waste and recycling before March 1,” Reagan said in an email.

Reagan said it is possible, even likely, that the county will receive no exclusive proposals for recycling services.

“Waste haulers, however, may also opt to include recycling options in their proposals,” he said. “It’s also possible that proposals received will not be affordable by citizens or in the best interest of the county. Recycling services usually are a cost in addition to regular solid waste pickup services.”

In other actions at Friday’s meeting, magistrates:

  • approved spending $16,105 to Rex’s Cycle Shop for a Polaris Ranger side-by-side to be used by the county technical rescue team.
  • approved purchasing a $23,289 Toro Sand Pro Infield Grooming Machine from ABI for the county parks and recreation department.
  • approved spending $5,207 for Bray’s Window Cleaning to clean windows at the justice center and courthouse.
  • approved spending $26,219.29 to purchase a scissor lift from Equipment Depot for use at the indoor tennis facility being built at Buchanon Park.
  • approved spending $43,664.56 to Barren County Office Supply for supplies at the indoor tennis facility.
  • approved an expense of $25,275.38 to Diamond Equipment for repairs to a backhoe used by the county road department.

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

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