County exits the trash-hauling business
In the next step to privatizing its solid waste functions, Haywood County is turning to the convenience centers, the central sites where individuals can drop off their trash and recyclables.
On Monday, the commissioners approved an expanded, 10-year contract with Consolidated Waste Services, LLC, for about $684,000 annually to provide not only hauling services to the county landfill or recycling centers, but the equipment needed to collect and compact the trash.
The county will pay $28,934 a month to haul solid waste from 10 convenience centers, and seven county building sites to the White Oak landfill, plus another $28,400 a month to haul recyclables from these sites, along with 23 other school and county sites, to recyclable centers in Buncombe or elsewhere.
Every two years, there is a built-in 5 percent increase on the fee for hauling to the county landfill until 2020, when the rates can be renegotiated.
As part of the fee, Consolidated Waste will provide 21 self-contained compactor units, nine waste containers for use at county collection sites, containers for recyclable materials and other equipment needed at the sites.
For the past decade, Consolidated Waste has hauled trash from the pickup sites to the White Oak landfill for $26,000 a month. Adding the recyclable contract, as well as offer to provide containers and compactors, roughly doubled the cost.
At the Monday meeting County Tax Administrator David Francis said the new contract is one that will help Haywood County avoid looming expenses plus provide a level of predictability when it comes to budgeting.
Much of the existing equipment is worn out and needs to be replaced, Francis said, an estimated cost of nearly $1 million. He said four over-the-road trucks would cost a total of $400,000; 14 new compactors would be $280,000 and it would cost $300,000 to upgrade trailers.
Furthermore, not owning the equipment would save $150,000 annually on maintenance/upkeep and reduce hauling liabilities.
Commission Chairman Mark Swanger, who serves on the county solid waste committee, said addressing the convenience center and hauling issues is the next logical step in privatizing the solid waste functions. At present, the $26,000 a month Consolidated Waste contract covers staffing the convenience centers and hauling trash from the sites to the landfill or the Materials Recovery Facility in Clyde.
The new contract adds recyclable hauling as well as providing the equipment needed at the trash sites.
“This is part of a process that has been ongoing,” Swanger said in a later interview. “The goal is to eliminate county liability wherever possible, fix costs and increase efficiency in our solid waste operations. With everything we’ve done, we’ve eliminated the need for large capital expenditures in the future. We will have to watch our money very closely because of the Francis Farm landfill costs, which will in the millions.”
The Francis Farm landfill opened in the 1970s and closed in 1993. Ongoing monitoring required at the site has revealed groundwater problems that are migrating off site, and the state is requiring extensive mitigation measures.
A $92 annual per household solid waste fee generates revenue to operate the solid waste functions within the county.
Cities and towns offer door-to-door pickup services at an additional charge, and those who want pick-up service outside municipal boundaries can contract separately for the service. The contract haulers, as well as the municipalities, transport recyclables to the Clyde facility and trash to the landfill.
Commissioner Mike Sorrells said there are other hidden savings in approving the Consolidated Waste contract, including reducing insurance costs and the liabilities that accompany having large trucks on the road.
Commissioner Kirk Kirkpatrick asked whether the solid waste committee unanimously approved the move, which Francis said was the case.
The contract was unanimously approved.