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Mercer County Scrambles To Get Rid Of Dead Animals

Closing Of Recycling Company Leaves County Dealing With A Mess

Robert Moore

Herald Staff

rmoore@harrodsburgherald.com

The closing of a Clark County recycling facility has left Mercer County and counties across the Bluegrass with a real mess on their hands.

According to Judge-Executive Milward Dedman, Mercer County was notified earlier this month that Bluegrass Recycling of Winchester is going out of business. As of Saturday, Feb. 1, the company will no longer remove dead animals for Mercer or the 17 other counties in Central Kentucky they formerly served.

Dedman said there were two other haulers willing to take over the service. Woodrum of Casey County offered to remove animals at a price of $87.50 per carcass while Convoy of Fayette County offered to remove animals at $100 per carcass.

Dedman said over 1,000 animals were picked up in Mercer County last year. While some of the costs are covered by grants, it’s still going to be a big increase in costs for the county, which currently charges farmers $20 per carcass.

“We’d go from spending $25,000 per year to $75,000 per year,” Dedman said Tuesday morning during the Mercer County Fiscal Court Meeting.

The judge said the state mandates that county governments handle dead animal removal, although every county handles the responsibility differently.

Dedman said he has spoken with Franklin County about composting. He said only one employee handles the program. However Franklin County does not pick up as many animals as Mercer, he said.

“It works really well down there,” he told the magistrates.

But Mercer County will not be able to start a similar program by Feb. 1.

“It might be something to explore in the next budget,” said County Treasurer Sandy Sanders. She said they would have to transfer funds to cover the increase in costs to the county.

Dedman said he had arranged for someone connected to the state veterinarian’s office to look at a possible site on Perryville Road for the composting program on Wednesday.

If the site is found not to be appropriate, the judge said the county currently has no other property available.

Dedman said the fiscal court might have to hold a special-called meeting to decide how to proceed.

Terry Dunne, a self-appointed taxpayers advocate, called the dead animal removal program a “tremendous subsidy” to farmers.

Dedman called it an unfunded mandate on the county imposed by the state.

In other business, the Mercer County Fiscal Court:

• Proclaimed February 2-8 Food Check-Out Week. Libby Stocker of the Mercer County Farm Bureau Federation gave a presentation. Thanks to farmers, Stocker said America has the most affordable food in the world. On average, 10-percent of income is spent on food, Stocker said.

• Appointed Austin Gibson to the Anderson-Dean Community Park board.

• Approved Mercer County agricultural district 084-21.

• Approved modifications to the county’s personnel policy and procedure handbook.

• Approved a resolution allowing the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to place signs on US 127 at the Harrodsburg city limits recognizing Trevon Faulkner and Seygan Robins as Mr. and Miss Basketball.

Announcements:

• All budget requests to the Mercer County Fiscal Court are due by Friday, March 13, at 4 p.m.

• The Farm/City Dinner will be on Thursday, March 26, at 6 p.m. at the Mercer County Cooperative Extension Office.

• The county’s July 4th fireworks will be on Friday, July 3, at Anderson-Dean Park. Lights Over Herrington will be on Saturday, July 4.

The next meeting of the Mercer County Fiscal Court (207 West Lexington Street) will be Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 10 a.m.

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