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Some think Goliad trash compactor is political pawn

By chirst
Aug. 18, 2012 at 3:18 a.m.
Updated Aug. 19, 2012 at 3:19 a.m.

The trash compactor in Goliad County Precinct 3 has been closed since Aug. 1, the day after the runoff election. Commissioner Jim Kreneck said a part is broken, but some residents suspect retribution from the commissioner.

Residents of Goliad County in Precinct 3 haven't been able to use the local trash compactor for almost three weeks.

Instead, they are driving 14 miles into Goliad to dump their trash there or they burn it.

Jim Kreneck, county commissioner, said the compactor in Weesatche is closed because the safety switch on the local trash compactor, bought in 2001, is broken.

Some residents, however, such as Vickie Borgfeld, suspect Kreneck is punishing the precinct after he lost the runoff election on July 31 against Ronald Bailey.

"It's never broken before, and now it's broken the day after the election. It is just weird, the timeline," she said.

She said Kreneck told residents before the election he would close the trash compactor if he lost the race.

Kreneck said that is not true, and he cannot open the compactor until the safety switch is fixed.

"I've had some ask when it is going to be open, and I've told them as soon as I get the parts and can reopen it," Kreneck said. "I can't open it in an unsafe condition. Goliad County has another trash facility in Goliad, and residents can take their trash there."

County Judge David Bowman said his office has received dozens of calls about the closed compactor, but he has not looked into the situation.

"It is up to him. A compactor is operated with funds out of his budget," Bowman said. "It is like any other piece of equipment a commissioner would have, it is his prerogative on how he uses it."

Dr. Zena Trcka, of Weesatche, said she believes the compactor is broken, but that Kreneck needs to focus on finding a solution.

"I don't think this is malicious, but something needs to be done regardless because it is important to the community," she said. "There are widows and other people and they can't be expected to burn their trash, and it is such a distance."

Kreneck said he has ordered the part, which keeps the compactor from operating when the door is open, from a company in Houston. He said the part is on back order, but he is expecting it next week.

"That machine is operated at my discretion," Kreneck said. "That is not a mandated machine by Goliad County or by law. It was put in with my budget money, and I'm the sole operator of it."

Borgfeld said Kreneck has been a good commissioner, but fixing the compactor needs to be high on his list of priorities.

"To me, win or lose, he still has a job to do," Borgfeld said. "He is still collecting a paycheck and he needs to do the job to the best of his ability."

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