Winnsboro residents to pay trash pick up fees to cover county charges

 WINNSBORO – As of July 1, 2023, the Town of Winnsboro will be forced to pass a new county surcharge along to the town’s residents, according to Winnsboro Town Manager Jason Taylor.

Fairfield County has charged a commercial solid waste fee for years, but in its 2021-2022 budget, the county expanded the fee’s applicability to the Town of Winnsboro and the Fairfield County School District, charging the Town an annual $63 per ton.

At the regular town council meeting on May 16, Taylor explained to council that the new fee the county is imposing on the Town will have to be passed along to the town’s solid waste customers. Taylor has said the county fee amounts to double billing of the Town’s solid waste customers who already pay a fee to the county to dump their trash in the county landfill.

A recording from a county council meeting last year shows Councilman Neil Robinson also feared the fee amounted to double charging.

“A concern was brought to me by a few constituents that we’d possibly be charging county citizens who live in the city almost double,” Robinson said. “If you kind of think about it, it is true. We typically don’t charge the citizens in the county for trash services.”

Mayor John McMeekin agreed with Taylor that if the county is going to charge the Town’s citizens an additional fee, then the Town will have to pass it through.

While the new fee was added under the previous council, the new government has not backed off the fee.

Asked on Tuesday for a comment on the county’s continued insistence that the Town pay the surcharge, Council Chairman Douglas Pauley said he was not sure what it is all about. Asked if he would be willing to drop the fee, Pauley said, “I don’t know. I’d like to find out. I want to sit down with the Town and discuss this.”

Pauley said he would call Taylor right after speaking with The Voice to discuss it and find out what could be done.

On March 30, 2022, the Town of Winnsboro formally filed suit against the county, claiming in court papers that the county’s solid waste fee shouldn’t apply to Winnsboro town residents since they already pay to use the landfill.

Winnsboro’s suit further notes the town conveyed real estate to the county in the furtherance of providing solid waste services. The County breached that agreement by “unilaterally” imposing the solid waste fee, according to the suit.

The suit seeks a declaratory judgment that the $63 per ton fee is “invalid and illegal”, according to court documents.

Winnsboro seeks a refund of any solid waste fees it has paid or will pay. The town agreed, under protest, to temporarily pay the fee on the condition that payments are held in trust pending disposition of the case, the suit states.

“The County has failed to act in good faith and deal fairly with the Town by failing to attempt to renegotiate any provision of the parties’ cooperative agreement,” the lawsuit states.

Unless the county drops the surcharge it will be billed to the Town’s solid waste customers beginning July 1, 2023.

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