Not allowing churches to drop off junk at county waste stations is garbage
Hernando TodayThe issue: Churches and religious organizations denied use of the county's waste stations.
Published: June 19, 2009
Published: June 19, 2009
Our opinion: Commissioners need to revisit policy.
After the good folks at Spring Hill Baptist Church had completed some spring cleaning, they tried to drop off the junk at the nearest county waste station.
No way, they were told. Churches don't pay taxes or the annual solid waste assessment that homeowners pay.
The attendant at the Westside substation off Osowaw Boulevard told the parishioner he'd have to take the junk 20 miles down the road to the landfill off U.S. 98.
Apparently, folks who live in apartments can't use the waste stations either because they don't pay the annual solid waste assessment.
We can understand why commercial businesses can't use the waste stations. They don't pay the annual solid waste assessment and they're for-profit entities that require solid waste disposal on a constant basis.
Spring Hill Baptist Rev. Ray Rouse thought the slight was just another example of society's increasing persecution of churches. That's understandable, given the societal bashing that churches have been enduring lately due to the misguided interpretation that some want to lend to the political and legal doctrine of separation of church and state.
"I just think it's terrible," Rouse said. "I just see more and more hatred in the country toward churches."
Unfortunately, we do too.
In this case, however, we believe it's simply a case of a county worker doing what he's been told, following the policies he's been mandated to administer.
Which doesn't make it right.
The Rev. Rouse also makes the point: "Does that mean if the church burned down, firefighters wouldn't come out?"
Obviously, that would never happen, but churches don't pay property taxes that help fund fire rescue services either.
The point is that churches do so many good things in our community they deserve the use of all of our government services. If the pastor had a heart attack during church services, an ambulance would respond. If the church caught on fire, firefighters would respond. If the church has junk it needs to get rid of, parishioners should be able to drop it off at county waste stations instead of having to haul it an additional 20 miles to the landfill.
After all, you can bet that a vast majority of a church's parishioners pay property taxes and solid waste assessments. They also vote. More importantly, the churches and religious organizations in our county do so much for the community at large, so much so it would be difficult to measure.
Surely, they should be able to use the convenience of the county's waste stations.
County commissioners need to take another look at this flawed policy and mandate the right change.