Landfill issues still plaguing county

By | February 7, 2019 8:14 am

By Ron Moses

With more than half of the current class one landfill cell filled with sediment, dirt, and garbage, the county will soon have an important decision to make on whether to purchase a new cell or have the solid waste transferred.

The former could cost the county roughly $5 million, but many on the White County Solid Waste Committee say that buying the new cell will save the county money in the long run.

“My number one rule is to increase the standard of living for the people of White County and to do that as cheaply as possible,” said County Executive Denny Wayne Robinson. “That’s my goal. We have two options when it comes to solid waste. Transfer and a cell. What I think needs to happen at the landfill is we permit the new cell.”

Robinson said 16,000 tons of trash was put into the class one cell last year. Robinson said he is studying the budget to discover which parts are relevant to the class one cell. He said the landfill costs approximately $48 a ton to maintain, and White County has gained about 600 tons of trash over the past year. That is a 7 percent increase since 2015.

“When I go through the budget, I will determine a cost per ton for class one waste,” said Robinson.

In some cases, the price to transfer the waste is $50 a ton. Some on the committee stated that as the need is greater for transfer, the price will go up. The cost of the cell, however, should remain fairly stable.

“That being said, I truly feel in the long-term best interest of White County is to maintain a landfill,” said Robinson. “They are dropping like flies, and, every time one goes away, the price for taking off your trash goes up. That is where we need to go in the long term.”

Robinson said it is possible, in the short term, to cost-effectively ship the waste if needed. When asked if taking in trash from other counties is an option while maintaining the landfill, Robinson said there was a downside to that as well.

“We can make our solid waste department zero cost to White County by taking in trash from other counties and charging for it,” he said. “But, in doing so, that cuts that cell’s life down to 10 years. At that point, you are building another cell.”

Right now, the landfill is funded by a $5 fee on electric bills. The committee members said they will have to make a decision this term as to whether or not to maintain a landfill in the county. As for the sediment and dirt filling the landfill now, they are looking to purchase a tarp.

In other business:

  • The county has come to an agreement to purchase the property next to White County Health Department for $30,000. The property is part of a planned expansion.
  • The county is looking into bids on a proposed fireworks show for the July 4th holiday
  • Parks and Recreation will be providing funding for a tennis court project. Bids are being accepted and specifics from surrounding counties are being gathered, according to Robinson.

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