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County recycling center hours extended
Most to open at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Thursday

COVINGTON - County neighborhood recycling centers will open earlier two days a week beginning Tuesday.

Recycling centers will open at 7 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. The exception is the Hazelbrand Road Recycling Center, which will continue to open at 1 p.m.

The centers, except for Hazelbrand, currently open at 9 a.m. The county shortened hours of operation in March in an effort to save money.

But some commissioners have received complaints from constituents about the new hours.

District 4 Commissioner J.C. Henderson said residents want to be able to drop off their recycling while on the way to work.

Henderson and District 5 Commissioner Tim Fleming said they didn't realize that the six holidays added to the county calendar for fiscal year 2010 would also impact recycling centers and the landfill.

Laurie Riley with Keep Covington-Newton Beautiful said despite public notification, some residents apparently weren't aware that the facilities were closed on Monday, the first day of school and Sgt. John Newton Day, though Riley said residents did not leave trash piled up outside the gates as they have in the past.

Fleming said the holiday schedule may need to be revisited, adding that he is particularly concerned about Boxing Day, which falls on Dec. 28, the Monday after Christmas. He said the three or four days after Christmas are the busiest time of year for those facilities.

"I can see it now - there's going to be mounds and mounds of trash," piled outside the gates, Fleming said, adding that it could take county employees hours to sift through the garbage and wind up costing the county money.

"In the grand scheme of things, we're really not going to save that much money," he added.

The county is projecting an annual savings of $18,000 by reducing hours and closing the six extra days.

"I don't think that's enough money to inconvenience the citizens of Newton County," Henderson said.

Administrative Assistant John Middleton said the concerns about Boxing Day are being discussed and another day may be substituted.

Riley said Thursday that the holiday schedule is being revisited and her office expects to get an updated schedule by the end of next week.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.