BY KAYCIE STUSHEK, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT NETWORK COORDINATOR, THE HUB
When many of us think about garbage, we think, out of sight, out of mind. But for cities and towns across WV, service fees collected for garbage disposal can be key to funding services like the police department, street lighting, and other necessary expenses to keep the town running – and residents safe.
This is the case for Whitesville, WV in Boone County.
Over the past few years, though, the Whitesville garbage truck started to face more and more problems.
Then, the closure of the Boone County Garbage Dump Transfer Station forced the truck to be driven all the way to Charleston to dump trash. The truck already had its fair share of problems and this extra strain was aggravating the problem of breakdowns – and missed garbage pickups.
Residents were upset that they were paying a fee for an inconsistent service. There was pressure on Whitesville to get a new garbage truck, but these vehicles cost tens of thousands of dollars.
The Town of Whitesville went to work. They spent many months making connections, asking favors, and seeking out funding resources. When Matt Lively, a town council member who had previously worked in South Charleston, got ahold of some folks he knew in that area to see if they had any surplus property – Whitesville had a breakthrough.
The City of South Charleston responded by donating a truck that had some transmission problems, but had a sound structure.
Whitesville then worked with Hutches Wrecker Services LLC, who donated their services to have the garbage truck towed to a truck shop so the transmission could be fixed. The town then collaborated with the Boone County Commission to direct funds to the town of Whitesville to fix the new garbage truck’s transmission, including a warranty, at no cost to Whitesville residents.
All of this was achieved through the collaboration of many community leaders and local businesses including Whitesville City Clerk Chris Prater, Town Council members David Hodges, Steven Morris, Kim Dillon, Dustin Seanze, and Matt Lively, Mayor Fred Harless, Town Recorder Susan Grubbs, City of South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens, Public Works Director Gerald Burgy, and City Manager Rick Atkinson, Hutches Wrecker Services LLC, and the Boone County Commission.
This story is a testament to Whitesville residents who set a goal, researched options, put themselves out there, and built relationships in order to provide for their town – and the story is continuing. The work has been done to find and fix up the truck, but there is more to tell in the way of getting the truck up and running on its regular route – and all of the many more people and businesses who are a part of this tremendous collaborative effort to save an essential service in Whitesville.
We will be posting an update on the truck’s progress, including recognition of the many contributors in the near future. (If you have been a part of this effort, and are not named here, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org so we may salute you moving forward!)
As David Hodges put it, “We plead our case, worked hard to reach out, and people really came through and were there for us.”