Commissioner: Shawnee County Waste Disposal could go private, public parks could ban smoking

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A Shawnee County Commissioner said the board is debating privatizing the Shawnee County Solid Waste Department, and banning smoking in public parks.

Commissioner Kevin Cook sat down with KSNT morning anchor Brittany Moore to break down the reason why.

“It’s prudent for us to do a review every couple years to make sure that we’re doing the best for our Shawnee County citizens,” Cook said. “Is privatization a good option for Shawnee County citizens, or should it stay within Shawnee County, being managed by Shawnee County?”

Cook mentioned that statutes require citizens to have a trash service, and that he wants to make sure it remains affordable to the public.

“The Shawnee County Solid Waste provides that reasonable alternative to maybe other trash haulers,” Cook said. “You look at ‘what is the cost component’, and ‘can other people provide that service at the same fee?’ If we were to look at privatization, what are the rates going to do, and what’s the service going to be?” 

The next public hearing on privatization is March 13. Cook has asked for anyone who wants to give input to contact the Shawnee County Commission.

Cook said another topic up for discussion is banning smoking in parks and golf courses, due to a community health assessment. The Shawnee County Health Department is in preliminary talks for reducing smoking rates, and are looking at the county’s parks and recreation as an option.

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