Residents Rally to Stop Jackson Incinerator Closure

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Tuesday night's rally against the proposed closing of the Jackson County trash incinerator, or resource recovery facility, was a small gathering.

But for organizer Aaron Wyckoff, it was big on the message it was sending.

"Breaking the misinformation and hoping they work out a deal and hopefully protecting these people's livelihoods and the environment," Wyckoff said.

A handful of about 20 people or so, including Wyckoff, gathered outside the County Tower Building on Tuesday before the county commission meeting to hand out fliers in an effort to drum up more support.

The group's Facebook page "Save the Jackson County Resource Recovery Facility" has more than 400 'likes.'

Wyckoff said he's still optimistic a deal can be worked out but said the commission should be doing more to work with residents on finding a solution.

"It's really frustrating," he said. "They really need to open up the talks again at the very least."

With the Department of Correction's deal to purchase electricity and steam from the incinerator ending in September--a deal that brought in millions to the county--few options remain on how to make up the lost revenue.

The deal with the DOC brought in about $2.4 million annually.

One proposal to make up the lost revenue is to increase tipping fees for residents, a proposal that was reiterated by Lori Pelham, the facility's administrative and compliance manager, during the meeting.

"Four and a half cents would give the county time... to continue to work on a possible agreement with the state," Pelham said.

The four and a half cents Pelham referred to is the proposed increase to the tipping fee, which is the price-per-ton garbage haulers pay.

The fee is passed on to residents who pay the fee three times a year. The proposal would raise the fee from it's current $77.70 to $90, or roughly $13 more per year.

"The opinions of residential customers and haulers has been overwhelmingly in support of keeping this facility open," she said.

A committee is currently looking into the proposed tipping fee and will present the recommendation to the county's Board of Public Works on July 29.

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