The Grainger County Commission listened to concerns from Solid Waste Director Ed McBee regarding used tire purchasing in the county Monday night.
“I’ve got some used tire vendors here in the county,” McBee said. “They go out and try to buy used tires from all the vendors that’s already collected the $1.35 disposal fee (from the state). They’re buying them all over the place.”
McBee said that when the dealers buy used tires, they must take all the tires a vendor is selling and bring McBee all of the bad tires.
“These used tire vendors aren’t paying $1.35 to the state,” McBee said. “I’m going to ask you to allow me to charge $1.35, plus 65 cents for handling, which makes (the fee) $2.”
McBee currently charges $1 per tire for each used tire received, whether the tire be a car, tractor or any size/type.
“You can charge anything you want to,” County Mayor Mike Byrd said.
McBee said that he was going to charge the used tire vendors $2 each. He said the only reason he charges $1 per tire presently is that residents who bring used tires in tend to keep their used tires if they are usable.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation told McBee that he needed to charge as much as needed to cover labor and handling.
“I’m not even breaking even,” McBee said.
McBee has a list from the state showing which vendor pays the $1.35 disposal fee. He said that there are two used tire vendors that he knew of, one on U.S. Highway 11W as one comes into Rutledge inside the city limits at the location of an old car wash, another vendor is on Lakeshore Road.
“The used tire place (on 11W) brought me 100 used tires in two days,” McBee said. “I’ve been told that is a small engine repair shop.”
Commissioner Becky Johnson said that if this is legal, that McBee should be able to charge $2 per tire. She motioned to allow this to happen. Commissioner Darrell Stratton seconded. The vote passed 14-1 with Mike Holt casting the lone no vote.
McBee said that it costs $850 per trailer load to dispose of the used tires he receives, which is usually hauled away monthly.
McBee has also worked for the last six months to produce revenue of some scrap items, such as lawn mowers, yard trimmers, DVD players, bicycles and like items.
“I have come up with this and started selling ‘flea market’ items,” McBee said. “It will bring a right smart of revenue back into the sanitation department.”
A sale this past Saturday brought in $109, according to McBee.
“Scrap is going for $7 per 100, but when you get $20 for a bicycle, you’ve made money,” Commission Chairman Johnny Baker said. One lawn mower is $20.”
McBee also had questions about why the plastic recycling program was suspended.
“It costs me more to process (plastic) than take it straight to the landfill,” he said. “I apologize for that. Hopefully, in July, we’ll have a vendor.”