State takes over Nicholas solid waste authority
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A state board has taken control of Nicholas County’s troubled solid waste authority.
The state Solid Waste Management Board said Friday in a news release it made the move in a unanimous vote Wednesday, three months after the Nicholas County Solid Waste Authority was determined to be “seriously impaired” in its most recent performance review.
“There was a complete lack of internal controls in place,” said state board Executive Director Mark Holstine. “If allowed to continue down this path, there would be huge financial problems — and those could lead to environmental ones at the landfill.”
It marks the first time in the 38 years of the state board’s existence that it has taken control of a county solid waste authority.
The Nicholas County authority’s 13 employees will now report directly to Holstine until a new management plan is enacted. Holstine said he had no time frame for the takeover.
“The board is committed to ensuring the financial stability of this operation and will retain oversight until all necessary corrective actions have been implemented,” he said.
The release said the Nicholas County authority’s net assets dropped from $2.5 million in 2007 to $2 million last year. Operating income went from $238,000 in 2007 to a loss of nearly $303,000 in 2013.
The seven-member state board began making attempts to help the Nicholas County authority improve its business practices in 2011 after it was deemed “impaired” in the first of two state-required performance reviews.
After the review in March showed the Nicholas County authority fared worse, the state board began the intervention process, which provides a 90-day period for the local authority to correct impairments. Holstine scheduled several meetings to offer assistance but was unable to due to a lack of response.
Holstine said he’s unable to determine how many garbage collection customers the Nicholas County authority has because its records contain irregularities, such as listing different members of the same household separately and leaving out customer addresses.
The Class B landfill in the community of Calvin is the second smallest in the state. It is permitted to accept up to 9,999 tons of waste per month but only accepts about 2,200 tons per month.