District 44 Rep. Jim Baird (R-Greencastle) authored legislation, House Enrolled Act 1060, which authorizes hazardous waste disposal tax revenue to pay costs with the maintenance or repair of county roads. The bill was signed into law on Wednesday.
"This bill deals with counties that have a hazardous waste landfill," Rep. Baird said. "This allows the host county to use a portion of the tipping fees for local road maintenance and repair."
The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Connie Lawson (R-Danville).
Currently, the money from hazardous waste disposal tax can be used for things such as monitoring wells, conducting testing of contamination and paying associated costs of construction and rehabilitation. This legislation adds county roads as a use of the money, but is limited to only 10 percent of the balance of each year.
"The money from the hazardous waste disposal tax revenue helps pay for hazardous waste training for first responders, the Emergency Operations Centers, and monitoring wells among other concerns that come with having a landfill in the area," Rep. Baird said. "However, counties are searching for any source of funds that can be used for road maintenance and repair. This law will now allow some counties the flexibility and an extra way to maintain county roads."
The new law also sets up that any annual expenditures for county roads may not exceed 10 percent of the balance of the county's separate fund as of Jan. 1 of the year in which the expenditures are made.
Heritage Environment Landfill is located in Putnam County, three miles southeast of the town of Russellville. Money that would have been originally used in Russell Township to repair the roads can now be used outside of the area because of the new law.
"This will free up the money we have in our county highway budget," Putnam County Commissioner Gene Beck said. "The money that was going to be spent in Russell Township can now be used in other townships, probably focusing on the main roads at this time. I think it will make a big difference. I want to thank Rep. Jim Baird and Sen. Connie Lawson for getting the bill passed. I really appreciate their work and the passing of the bill."
The new law will go into effect July 1, 2012.
Rep. Baird, currently completing his first term, represents District 44 which includes all of Putnam County and parts of Clay, Parke and Vigo Counties. Baird is a member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and the Ways and Means Committee.