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Published: Wednesday, 12/10/2008

3 trash haulers in Mich. focus of a fee dispute

BY ALEX M. PARKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Lucas County commissioners voted yesterday to allow the county prosecutor to pursue legal action against three Michigan garbage haulers, who they claim may have neglected to pay the county's tipping fee for garbage by taking it to Monroe.

Jim Shaw, the county's sanitary engineer, said the companies hadn't been identifying their trash as Lucas County garbage after crossing the border into Monroe County, thereby avoiding the county's tipping fee of $3 per ton.

The resolution targeted Stevens Disposal & Recycling Service Inc. of Petersburg; Countryside Disposal of Ottawa Lake, and Action Disposal of

Temperance.

Mr. Shaw said the county got complaints from rival haulers.

John Borell, an assistant county prosecutor, said it hadn't been decided whether formal legal action would be taken against the companies.

Mr. Borell said the county is still investigating whether all of the companies owed the county money.

County officials would not say how much the companies allegedly owed.

Carl Stevens, owner of Action Disposal, said he has been complying with the fee since being notified by the county. He said he tried to contact the county about the issue, but he hadn't been able to get through to Mr. Shaw.

"If I owe something, I'll pay it," Mr. Stevens said.

Amy Stevens, manager of Countryside Disposal, denied that the company had been avoiding the fee.

Jim May, an official with Stevens Disposal & Recycling Service, said he wasn't aware of the allegation. "As far as I know, we pay all fees," Mr. May said.

In other business, the commissioners delayed a vote on whether to create a county dog warden advisory committee.

The committee, proposed by Commissioner Ben Konop, would consist of several representatives from local animal welfare organizations as well as the Toledo Police Department and the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department.

Tina Skeldon Wozniak, president of the commissioners, and Commissioner Pete Gerken said they agreed with the idea, but wanted another week to review the proposal.

The committee would meet quarterly with the dog warden and would provide recommendations to the commissioners about how to improve the department.

In October, Dog Warden Tom Skeldon was the center of an hours-long public hearing during which some attendees claimed he was too focused on the law enforcement side of his job, and wasn't doing enough to see dogs adopted.

Last month, Mr. Konop announced the formation of an advisory group, as part of a goal to increase dog adoptions.

Contact Alex M. Parker at:

aparker@theblade.com

or 419-724-6107.



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