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Wednesday, 02 May 2012 19:10

Trash shuffle prompts Canton to privatize garbage pick-up

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Canton and Waynesville’s paths have diverged when it comes to the most cost efficient way to haul trash to White Oak Landfill.

Both towns will face higher costs to dump residents’ trash starting this summer when the county closes a trash transfer station that served as a mid-way point and instead will require towns to truck trash all the way to White Oak.

The Canton town board decided last week to privatize trash pick-up. Rather than running its own trash fleet, Canton will contract with Henson Waste Disposal starting July 1. The company is based in Canton.

To continue trash pick-up in-house, Canton would have had to hire additional garbage men and buy an additional truck to haul loads out to White Oak and back — an additional 40 miles, or one hour, round-trip for each load.

The extra long trip made it difficult to gauge what would be cheaper — contracting a company or doing the work itself.

“That is the reason we have to look at it to see if we are going to have to go out and buy heavy duty vehicles or contract it out,” said Alderman Ed Underwood.

Town Manager Al Matthews said no town workers will lose their jobs as a result of the switch over, as the town crews that do trash pick-up will stay on the town’s payroll in the streets department.

Henson Waste was the apparent low bidder with a price of $184,884 a year. However, it is currently unknown what the contract price will be. The town and Henson Waste are still negotiating “minor technicalities” within the contract, including a possible fuel adjustment clause, Matthews said.

The county is estimated to save $800,000 to $900,000 annually as a result of closing the transfer station — some of which commissioners said it will give back to towns to help cover their additional costs.

Hauling trash the additional distance to White Oak will also impact commercial garbage haulers and industries with large trash volumes, like manufacturing plants or the hospital. County residents, however, can continue to use one of the many convenience stations located throughout the county.

The town of Waynesville had briefly considered contracting out its solid waste operations as well but decided to continue hauling its own waste based on an analysis done with the help of Land-of-Sky Regional Council, a government planning and development organization in Asheville.

Although there will be additional costs associated with the decision — including the purchase of a new, more efficient rear-loading garbage truck and one new employee — the town does not yet know how much more it will have to shell out each year, said former Town Manager Lee Galloway. Galloway is remaining on board with the town as a consultant until the end of June.

Additional costs for the town will also translate to more money out of residents’ pockets every month. Residences currently pay $6.50 a month for trash pick-up.

“We will be recommending a rate increase,” Galloway said. The amount of the increase is also unknown.

To help mitigate the added cost and cut down on trips to the far away landfill, Waynesville will continue to promote recycling. There is grant funding available for towns to purchase recycling carts or bins for their resident, and Galloway would like to see Waynesville take advantage of that.

“We need to make it easier for people to recycle,” Galloway said. “I would love it if the town could apply for and get money for carts.”

The town currently picks up blue bags full of recyclables from homes and businesses. However, it does not collect cardboard or glass from businesses.

“We haven’t collected cardboard in probably 10 years,” Galloway said. “There is a guy (from Henson Waste) who picks up cardboard and hauls it to Jackson.”

Business owners should call Henson Waste if they wish to have its cardboard and glass picked up for recycling.

The county is also making a push for increased recycling countywide. The goal is to decrease the amount of waste in landfills by eventually recycling at least 40 percent of its refuse. Haywood County currently recycles 11 percent of its garbage and hopes to increase that to 20 percent during the next 10 years.

It also plans to add to the list of items that can be recycled, such as glass, cardboard, paper and plastics. Soon, the county hopes to recycle carpet and shingles.

The county sells its recycled materials to companies around the U.S., which amounted to more than $642,000 in gross revenue during the last fiscal year.

“We use the revenue from the recycling to offset our costs,” said Stephen King, director of Recycling and Solid Waste Management in the county.

 

Voice your opinion

The Haywood County Board of Commissioners will hold a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 7, on its 10-year solid waste plan. The plan, which details the county’s goal regarding solid waste, is available at www.haywoodcounty.net. The website also lists what items the county currently recycles.

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