Plan to privatize landfill draws little public comment

A public hearing to discuss the White Oak Landfill’s future In Haywood County was little more than a formality this week, with only one person standing up to question the plan.

Haywood County has been in talks with Tennessee company Santek Environmental for months now, negotiating a contract for the company to take over operations at the landfill.

Opposition to the idea has surfaced in the past, but at Monday’s public hearing, Monroe Miller, a regular critic of county officials, was the only citizen to speak. He provided commissioners with an 18-point question list.  

Tax Administrator David Francis, who heads the project, and the vice president of Santek’s marketing department addressed some concerns voiced by commissioners.

Commissioner Michael Sorrells had questioned how the county can be assured the landfill will last 30 years if Santek sells space in the landfill to trash from out of the area. Santek and Francis assured him that, should the landfill appear to be filling too quickly, it would stop taking out-of-county trash.

Commissioner Kirk Kirkpatrick pointed out that the rising cost of operating the landfill prompted the commissioners to look for cost savings.

A vote on the contract won’t happen until the board’s Oct. 3 meeting, but no commissioner has voiced any opposition.

— By Colby Dunn

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