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City dump closed to out-of-towners and commercial businesses

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By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

It's no secret that the City of Chiefland is standing on wobbly financial legs, so, in just one of many ways staff hopes to save money, the city's dump is now off limits to anyone wanting to use it for commercial purposes or for anyone who isn't a city resident.
"We've changed our policy on it," said City Manager Kevin Gay in a phone interview Wednesday.
The city spends $6,600 a year burning the debris that's brought in, he said, but most of that debris comes from commercial interests, such as landscaping and tree businesses, that pay nothing to get rid of unwanted trash burned at the city's facility.
Those businesses get paid by their customers to take the debris away, and then the city pays to have it burned.
"They've been getting a freebee on the city, and it was costing us quite a bit," Gay said.
To add insult to injury, some of the debris has been trucked in from several other counties. But not anymore.
City residents can still use the dump, he said, though they'll have to check in at the city barn where they can pick up a key to unlock a gate. Or, as part of the waste program already in place, they can bag debris and place it on the curb in front of their yards where it will be picked up by the city's waste contractor. Commercial interests should take their debris to the county landfill, he said.
Gay said the move to limit dumping is also important because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been "stern" with regard to the amount of burning that has, until recently, taken place at the facility.
The EPA was looking at having the city purchase a $200,000 incinerator, he said. But now that's not an issue. Materials dropped off at the dump will only have to be burned two or three times a year.