HOLLIDAYSBURG - Blair County intends to close its solid waste department and furlough six employees as of Sept. 30, then turn over some department responsibilities to the Intermunicipal Relations Committee.
The county has been moving toward those goals since May, when commissioners said the reserve account supporting the department was running low on money.
The account used to receive revenue from landfill tipping fees, but that ended in February 2007 with a Commonwealth Court decision.
"This is not something that's easy to do, but the county no longer has the funds," Commissioner Diane Meling said Tuesday.
Meling told fellow commissioners Terry Tomassetti and Ted Beam Jr. that she and county Human Resources Director Katherine Swigart met with the department staff.
There is a chance, Meling said, that the IRC will hire two county employees who work at the department's yard waste, composting and recycling site north of Altoona.
The IRC plans to accept ownership and manage the site because it represents the four municipalities - Altoona, Logan Township, Hollidaysburg and Tyrone - required to offer those services to residents.
The other employees, Meling said, will have the chance to apply for any job openings within the county or to pursue unemployment compensation.
Solicitor Nathan Karn said that he is working on a proposed lease of the compost site that could be in effect if the deed transfer for the site is delayed while awaiting required approvals. Also, because the county created the solid waste department by ordinance, it must advertise its intention to close the department, Karn said.
Fall leaf collection is expected to continue without interruption.
Meanwhile, the future of the county's drop-off recycling program is up for discussion at a public meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. today at the Logan Township Municipal Building.
At least since 1997, the department has offered its drop-off recycling bins program in various locations including Freedom Township, Greenfield Township, Martinsburg, Snyder Township, Taylor Township, Woodbury Township and near Tyrone. The county also owns recycling drop-off bins in the parking lot of Sam's Club in Allegheny Township and at its yard waste facility.
The IRC is looking for a private hauler interested in picking up the materials left at those locations, Meling said, but it may be necessary for municipalities to help cover the expense.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.