ABINGDON, Va. — Washington County residents will no longer have to pay to dump brush at the landfill — thanks to action by the county’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night.

In 2017, the county faced a large and growing brush pile at the former landfill and not enough revenue to cover the cost of chipping and removal of the material, said Supervisor Mike Rush.

In response, the Board of Supervisors approved increasing the fee on commercial and municipal users and began collecting a $5 household brush fee. On Tuesday, Rush proposed eliminating the fee.

Since that time, according to Rush, the county entered into a new contract for brush grinding with Superior Mulch, and the volume of municipal brush has decreased.

As of early July, the county had collected $7,510 from the fee, while the cost to grind and remove a year’s worth of brush was $10,064, according to Rush.

“To me, they can make that 10 thousand bucks from the commercial fee without charging the households $5 a load,” Rush said after the meeting.

Eliminating this collection fee does not apply to businesses, said County Administrator Jason Berry.

“This would only deal with individual citizens — not the commercial,” he said.

In other business Tuesday, the board decided to meet again on Aug. 5, at 6 p.m., to decide whether to file a court petition to hold a referendum in November on moving court functions from the county courthouse.

For the past two months, the board has weighed how to deal with space constraints at the 150-year-old Washington County Courthouse in Abingdon.

A voter referendum is required to be held if the county’s circuit court is moved, Berry said.

A petition would need to be filed, and an order from the court has to be issued by Aug. 16, said County Attorney Lucy Phillips.

Also on Tuesday, the board:

» Appointed retired teacher Randy Smith to the county’s Planning Commission to represent the Wilson District, which lies just north of Bristol.

» Reappointed Tony Miller to the Virginia Highlands Community College Board.

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jtennis@bristolnews.com | 276-791-0709 | @BHC_Tennis

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