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Wednesday, 11 January 2012 14:04

Haywood pitches in to help towns deal with trash transport costs

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Haywood County has offered a helping hand as towns grapple with how to cover the extra cost of hauling resident’s trash to the White Oak Landfill.

Starting in July, towns will have to drive trash out to the White Oak landfill near the Tennessee border. Currently, the towns transport their garbage to a transfer station in Clyde, a convenient mid-way point, and the county takes it the rest of the way to landfill. But, the county has decided to shut down the station to save money.

Rather than leaving towns in the lurch, the county will share some of the savings it realizes with the towns to help offset a portion of the extra cost they would otherwise incur.

“We want to try to minimize any negative impact,” said Mark Swanger, chair of the Haywood County Board of Commissioners. “We knew that it would likely create additional costs.”

The money will come out off the $800,000 to $900,000 in savings the county will realize after it closes the transfer station.

“There will be sufficient savings to help the municipalities,” Swanger said. “I think they are very amenable to it.”

It is unknown how much the county will chip in.

“Any amount that would reduce our costs would help,” said Waynesville Town Manager Lee Galloway.

The extra driving distance to the landfill will mean more gas and more hours for town trash trucks. Towns could also be forced to buy additional trucks and hire more garbage men as a result.

Realizing the additional burden it would place on towns, the county held off on closing the transfer station until summer to align with the new budget year. The county has been working through the issue with towns for more than a year.

“The cooperation between the county and towns is really important,” said David Francis, chair of the county’s solid waste committee. “We knew that it was going to be a change in the way they operate.”

The county wanted to avoid changing “all the sudden” and give towns a chance to figure how they will handle the change, he said.

The county realizes that town residents are also county residents, Francis said, and wanted to ease the burden on towns and hopefully avoid a situation where the towns would need to pass the added cost onto their residents.

The county’s scales at the transfer station have helped show towns that their garbage trucks were often not filled to capacity when dropping trash, Francis said. If the trucks carried heavier loads, they could take fewer trips to the landfill and possibly avoid the cost of new truck.

The towns are currently tabulating how much each option would cost them and must present their estimates to the county by Jan. 15. The county will decide how much it will give to the towns in May as it constructs its budget.

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