BY IVAN SANDERS
Carter County officials will likely seek a cost-benefit analysis before determining whether to try to expand the existing landfill or convert it into a transfer station.
The plan to seek the recommendation of an outside firm came after lengthy discussion at Monday’s committee meeting. Chairman Gary Bailey stressed to other committee members the need to address the future of the landfill as the facility continues to approach capacity.
“Are we going to close it or are we going to have a transfer station? People are used to taking their rubbish and demolition to the landfill, but once you take it away, that’s where it becomes a problem,” he said.
Solid Waste Director Benny Lyons told the committee that a state representative who came last week was concerned about the steep topography of the landfill and surrounding properties. “They’re afraid we don’t have enough land,” Lyons said. “An engineer should do a study. Before the first bucket of dirt, you’re probably looking at $1 million. You might be better off doing a modernized transfer station.
In addition, expanding the landfill would require the acquisition of adjacent property – an issue that is already of concern to the community. Bailey said he had heard of a letter circulating that falsely says the commission will acquire the land through eminent domain. “There was no vote to take anyone’s land,” Bailey said.
County Attorney Josh Hardin suggested the cost-benefit analysis. “You just can’t make a decision without having that kind of information,” Hardin said.
Lyons was asked to contact Kim Rhea for help in identifying potential companies to do the study. Commission President Ginger Holdren reminded the committee that if the cost exceeds $25,000, a request for proposal (RFP) should be used.
The director also updated the committee on the numbers for March, as the landfill absorbed more than $133,000 in waste and demolition materials. Cardboard remains at $170 a ton and the recycling effort has sold over 390 bales for a total of $17,000.
Lyons also provided an update on the status of the break-in more than a month ago at the landfill office.
“I’ve turned in all the videos and they have a name and I’m just waiting for them to take action,” Lyons said. They took fingerprints and blood samples that were in the bathroom. I took pictures from the videos and have a pretty good idea of who broke in.
Finance manager Carolyn Watson also told the committee she could not turn the theft into insurance until she received the correct report from the sheriff’s department.
“We have time, but it’s silly that we have to wait for the report,” Watson said.