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Solid Waste Board OKs budget increase

by Rob Burgess - rburgess@wabashplaindealer.com

The Wabash County Solid Waste Management District Joint Board of Directors approved a 7.4 percent budget increase at their monthly meeting on Monday.

The 2020 budget increase approved by the board would amount to a total of $40,648. Included in that number is:

n $3,006 in 3 percent annual salary increases,

n 1,000 in public education presentation increases,

n $500 in public education materials increases,

n $200 in gas utility fee increases,

n $2,000 in electricity rate increases,

n $7,000 in materials intake increases,

n $150 in service charges and sales tax remittance,

n $2,000 in additional upkeep for the new drop site,

n $17,671 for one new part-time position and moving a part-time position to full-time,

n and $250 blanket bond for the new position.

Executive director Jen Rankin said they have been so busy lately that neither she nor materials handler and front office support person Amanda Long have been able to take lunches for several weeks.

“My needs are just substantial around here,” she said.

Rankin said Long’s position would be the one moved from part-time to full-time. In addition, the part-time position would be for four-hour-per-day warehouse position to work daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to cover lunches.

After the meeting, during which the board approved the increases unanimously, Rankin said since they were a special district it would next go to the Wabash County Council for final approval.

“We are not a taxing unit,” she said. “We are not county or city government. We are a state mandate. So, a separate entity of our own.”

Rankin said they didn’t know the date for final approval yet as that would be set by the county.

“Our funding does not come out of county funds at all,” she said. “We don’t get funding from anyone.”

Rankin said they instead function from an assessment charged to qualifying residents for $24 per year.

“Everybody says, ‘Oh, it’s a tax.’ It’s on a tax bill because it saves us literally thousands of dollars over an outside entity preparing that,” she said. “We give the county a small percentage of money for doing it for us. So, they make money off of us.”