On Friday, the Pike County Fiscal Court approved an action officials believe will eventually increase the efficiency of its garbage collection.

During its special meeting, the PCFC authorized Treasurer Frankie Stacy to conduct a wire transfer for over $240,000 to US Bank to pay off six Dodge mini-packers, all of which officials have said they can’t keep on the road.

“When this court came in, we recognized there was a problem with our mini-packer fleet,” Pike Judge-Executive Ray Jones said. “At the last court meeting, we had a discussion with (Geosyntec consultant) Tom Ramsey and Chuck Morley from our Solid Waste Department, and Chuck’s opinion is that we need to replace all 12 of our mini-packers.”

During that meeting, Morley said the Dodge mini-packers are constantly breaking down, something he cited as a major concern in

moving to a four-day garbage collection. The constant breakdowns has left collections short-handed and, according to him, “you’ve got nobody to fill that gap.”

According to Jones, the county was operating a fleet that consists of 2003, 2006 and 2009 models. But, the 2003 models are all out-of-service and have been cannibalized to get parts for the 2006 and 2009 models because a lot of the parts aren’t manufactured anymore.

“So we’ve got vehicles they don’t even make parts for any longer and we thought the county owned the Dodges,” Jones said. “The county does not own them outright.

“They were a part of a long-term lease that the previous administration entered into,” he added.

The mini-packers, he said, are tied up in the lease that has 42 months remaining and he believes that none of the Dodges will be operational by the end of those 42 months. He added that the whole thing was “a fiasco from the start” as the mini packers should have never been purchased due to being gasoline powered, too small and too light weight for the area.

Pike County Dist. 1 Commissioner Ronnie Robertson said the trucks just “can’t hold up” in this area.

 “The trucks were too light duty, they were gasoline engine and that’s just not what we need around these mountains and roads we travel everyday,” Robertson said. “The biggest thing is, these trucks just don’t have enough power and we can’t keep transmissions in them.

“We also can’t keep the PTO pumps on them and I think all the warranties have gone out on the trucks,” he added.

Jones said that if the warranties haven’t expired, then most of them will soon.

Jones said he has asked Pike County Procurement Officer Greg Fannin and Pike County Deputy Judge-Executive Reggie Hickman to find out what the court needs to do in order to pull those Dodges from the lease, which, according to him, has over $900,000 remaining on it.

“We need to see if we can pull the mini-packers out of the lease so we can either trade them in, auction them off, or take the beds off and buy new chassis for them,” Jones said.

He added that one of the reasons the court held its special meeting on Friday was to resolve this action, as the earlier it’s done the less amount of interest the court will be responsible for paying.

“This wire transfer for the mini-packers is a big outlay of money that the court hadn’t anticipated, but we have to be able to pick the trash up,” Jones said.

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