By Sylvia Gonzalez
BIG SPRING - The only item on the agenda for Monday's meeting was to find a resolution to the landfill issue. County Judge Mark Barr and commissioners feel that they already pay the City of Big Spring a significant amount. They believe paying one-third of the final cost of the landfill expansion is not within their budget.
"We've been painted as kinda stingy and not wanting to do anything and that's not the case. We are willing to negotiate," Barr said.
Barr says they didn't budget for the $1.6 million the city is asking them to pay for the expansion of the landfill. Therefore if the city wants them to pay for anything, it's just gonna have to wait.
"We didn't budget for that kinda money this year, it would have to come after October. We can do it if reasonable people sat down, we can have this done after October very easily," Barr said.
Barr says with the $1.6 million plus other payments they make to the city, Howard County would be paying the City of Big Spring almost $2 million, that's an amount that taxpayers would end up having to carry.
"We're getting close to two million dollars in total payments to the city, that's nearly a 10 time jump from what we're presently paying. It just doesn't fit, we can't make that fit without raising taxes four to five cents," Barr said.
County Commissioner Jimmie Long believes there are other alternatives to be explored in the landfill issue.
"An option with Republic Waste Management Services, they have a couple of ideas as well that might give the county some options. Hopefully, the city is looking at some other things now that they know we're not just open to the one way," Long said.
Long says the county has worked with the city in the past and things have gone well, he's hoping the same will happen this time around.
"We've been able to work with the city in all the other things that we've done, joint law enforcement, we've traded some services with the jail, there's no doubt if we come to the table with open minds and everyone presents their ideas, we can come to a conclusion," Long said.