STEUBENVILLE - The JB Green Team board of trustees agreed Monday night to pursue possible criminal charges against the Apex Landfill as well as a civil lawsuit claiming a breach of contract.
The decision to pursue legal action against the landfill operations came during a 70-minute executive session that had been called to discuss contract issues and personnel.
Board Chairman Bob Chapman said the landfill has not paid tipping fees to the solid waste authority for the past two months.
"That is approximately $390,000 in unpaid fees due to the JB Green Team. That is a major revenue source for us and we have a contract that they are not following," said Chapman following the meeting.
"The board has instructed me to send a letter to the Jefferson County Prosecutor's office seeking its opinion on possible criminal charges against the landfill. The landfill owners have a statutory and contractual requirement to pay those fees. When solid waste is brought to the landfill, the operators are paid a fee. They are the trustees for that money. The landfill is now two months in arrears and my understanding is they haven't paid fees to the state as well. And we have also assessed late fees that have not been paid," explained John Mascio Jr., legal counsel for the JB Green Team.
The Jefferson County Board of Health was set to meet this morning and was expected to discuss the same issues.
"We are fortunate because Cliff Meyer, our executive director, has started developing other revenue sources. But we are in the beginning stages of that process. We approved major expenditures tonight to improve our operations, but if we are not paid by Apex we will see financial problems in the future," noted Chapman.
A spokesperson for the Apex Landfill could not be reached for comment Monday night.
Fiscal Officer Dave Hays reported waste tonnage accepted at the landfill decreased by 3 percent in August, "and was down 14 percent in September."
In other business Monday night, the board approved a review of the organization structure of the authority and agreed to have the personnel committee review a proposed substance abuse policy.
Meyer told the trustees he has found a recycling center in Cleveland that pays for glass that is recycled into fiberglass by Dow Corning.
"We were paying $16 a ton to have glass recycled in Pennsylvania but are now receiving $27 a ton for our glass. We made a small profit and we hope to increase that profit with several future equipment purchases," said Meyer.
The trustees approved Meyer's request for $160,000 for the purchase of a 40-yard capacity truck.
"There are good used trucks available and I would like to have that budget available in order to look for a truck. I don't anticipate making a move on a truck until January, but I want to be ready if a good deal is there," said Meyer.
The board approved a $61,330 expenditure for a compactor to be installed at the recycling cell in Wintersville along with two roll off containers.
A unanimous approval also came for the purchase of a rear packer load assist-Pro Tipper at a cost of $5,679.
Meyer described that equipment as a, "a safety issue for the employees who are now handling the glass recyclables."
Meyer recommendation to stop the curbside recycling program in Powhatan Point was unanimously approved the trustees.
"The curbside program costs us $2,000 a month. We are seeing a declining interest in curbside recycling there so I am recommending we do away with the curbside program in favor of community recycling in the village. I hope to get more of the community involved in the new recycling program. Mayor Mark McVey will be involved in the location of the community recycling containers," declared Meyer.
Building Committee Chairman John Abdalla told the trustees the former Don's Restaurant will have space available for rent.
The JB Green Team has been looking for a new site for its offices, recycling equipment and a recycling cell.
Meyer was instructed by Chapman to look at the building and surrounding property to see if it is suitable.
Chapman also asked the personnel committee to conduct a six-month review of Meyer's job performance.
"Cliff has been on the job for six months now. I think he is doing a good job and a very diligent review of our operations. He took this job when we had issues and is doing excellent work. We are required to conduct the six- month review so I will ask the personnel committee to do the review and have a report ready for the December meeting," Chapman said.