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Tennessee compost tour delayed until more sign up


Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown's latest effort to organize a bus trip to a garbage composting plant in Tennessee has lost out to holiday activities.

The County Commissioners postponed the planned Dec. 15-16 trip for county and town government representatives last week after only six people, four from Westminster and two from Hampstead, signed up to go.

The trip was scheduled so that local officials could see a working plant while Carroll is considering building one.

"I hope to put this together soon after the first of the year and get down there," Mr. Brown said this week. He said that he and Commissioner Donald I. Dell "talked about just getting in our cars and going down there, but apparently the other two commissioners didn't agree with that."

Mr. Dell said he agreed with Commissioners Julia W. Gouge and Elmer C. Lippy that spring would be a better time than the holiday season to make the trip

Mr. Brown was undeterred by the second cancellation of his plans to visit a composting plant in Sevierville, Tenn.

The commissioners canceled a proposed trip in September after saying that they did not want to spend two days on a bus traveling to and from the plant and that air fare was too expensive.

The mayor estimated that the trip would cost about $150 per person for the bus and lodging. He included no food allowance, but Westminster City Council President Kenneth A. Yowan said the city should cover the costs of meals for the three employees who had been scheduled to make the trip.

However, county government employees who may go on a future trip may have to pack sandwiches.

"If those people stay home, they're going to eat, so they should pay for the food themselves," Mr. Dell said.

He said he might approve meal reimbursement for individuals who take time from their jobs to make the trip, such as members of the county's waste-to-energy committee.

Mr. Lippy said he would support meal reimbursements for county employees.

Mrs. Gouge could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Lloyd R. Helt Jr., co-chairman of the incinerator study committee, expressed reservations about whether the trip is necessary.

Mr. Helt said that if a tour group is organized, he would like at least seven of the 25 committee members to attend.

"At this point, I don't know if we have to go to Tennessee," Mr. Helt said.

"Everyone knows composting is a good thing."

He said that Carroll has adequate landfill capacity to wait and assess other local governments' experiences with composting facilities before deciding whether to invest in a plant.

Mr. Brown and Mr. Dell toured the compost facility separately on their summer vacations, but both plan to make the trip again. Mr. Dell said he understands the composting process from his initial visit, but would like to see reactions from others, "right on the spot."

Mr. Lippy said he still wants to make the trip.

Hampstead Town Manager John A. Riley and Councilman Gary Bauer, Westminster Public Works Director Thomas B. Beyard, Engineer Joseph Moss and sewage treatment plant Superintendent Jeffrey D. Glass signed up for the trip this month.

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