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Commending innovation

Counties in the region often face similar challenges. This can include everything from school funding, to reductions in volunteers in fire departments and rescue squads, to sometimes decreasing economic revenue due to business closures.

These can be difficult challenges to face. When solutions are innovative and may save funding in the long run, those solutions deserve to be acknowledged and commended.

One recent solution from Buckingham included installing the first automatic gated entryway at a solid waste disposal site. Gates are set to be installed at the remaining six locations.

The first entryway opened at Route 600 following a dedication by the county Friday.

Using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), a sensor at the gate identifies the county decal on a resident’s vehicle, which in turn allows the gate to open. There’s a gate on the other side of the entrance opens as vehicles are leaving the site.

“Savings will come from not having out-of-county waste in the sites because without a county decal they cannot enter the sites,” Buckingham County Administrator Rebecca Carter said. “We will save on disposal cost, fuel from not traveling to so many sites, and eventually manpower. Monitors will gradually be reduced; however, we will have to have some to clean up the sites.”

Curbing abuses of waste disposal sites, including disposals from people who do not live in Buckingham County, have been an ongoing issue for the area. Costs associated with landfill operations in the county have increased by approximately $100,000 since 2013.

Installing the gates that use this technology is something unique to the county. Carter said to the county’s knowledge, Buckingham is the only county in the region taking this approach to collect trash only from those within the county.

Innovations are taking place within our area’s schools systems and county government. They are being led by residents, county leaders and civic organizations. We wholly commend Buckingham County for using technology and collaboration between county departments to seek innovative solutions.