Bye-bye trash

Published 9:10 am Thursday, June 30, 2011

Clarence Williams, a part-time employee, operates the compactor at the Hertford County Solid Waste collection site located on Drive In Theatre Road off NC 42 West near Ahoskie. All seven sites in the county will remain open upon Waste Industries taking over the storage and hauling of the trash. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

WINTON – Hertford County is getting out of the trash business.

While the solid waste drop-off sites will still be owned and staffed by the county, a contract has been approved with Waste Industries to provide all equipment at those seven locations as well transporting that trash to the regional landfill in Bertie County.

The decision to reorganize the county’s Solid Waste department by privatizing trash storage and transportation directly affected three full-time county workers. Two others at the county’s old landfill (transfer station) are not impacted by the reorganization.

“They responded as well as I could expect under the circumstances,” said Hertford County Manager Loria Williams after meeting with three county workers (all truck drivers for the Solid Waste department). “The commissioners were in agreement over the reorganization in an effort to reduce costs, but they were extremely concerned about what would happen to the workers. We didn’t want to do anything that would be detrimental to those workers.”

Two of the truck drivers will remain with the county, accepting transfers to the Building and Grounds department. The other has accepted a job with Waste Industries.

Williams said a greater emphasis is now being placed on Building and Grounds and that department was in need of additional workers.

“Looking at our overall reorganization, we moved one of our Code Enforcement Officers to a facilities manager position in our effort to be more proactive in the maintenance of our buildings,” Williams noted.

As far as making the switch to privatized Solid Waste collection and transportation, Williams said it was a cost-saving measure, both short and long term.

“For starters, we were looking at expending over one million dollars in capital improvement to replace our aging vehicles and equipment,” Williams told the commissioners at their Monday morning meeting.

She informed the board that the contract with Waste Industries only covers the hauling of the solid waste from the seven convenience sites and the equipment used at those locations to compact and store the waste until such time it is transferred to the regional landfill.

“This privatization does not affect the sites, they are still county-owned, and it does not affect the part-time county staff at those sites or the two full-time employees at our transfer station,” Williams said.

The five-year contract with Waste Industries, approved by the commissioners on Monday, will take effect near the end of August….giving the company time to change out the equipment at the convenience sites. That equipment will include a 2 cubic yard compactor (with a 40 cubic yard box), a 30 cubic yard open top container for bulk items and three, 8 cubic yard dumpsters at six of the seven sites. The seventh site (the transfer station located on Mt. Moriah Road near Winton) will have two, 3 cubic yard compactors (each with a 40 cubic yard box), a 40 cubic yard open top container for bulk/construction items and four, 8 cubic yard dumpsters.

The county will pay a monthly lease rate of $6,461 for all of that equipment. Waste Industries is responsible for the servicing of that equipment.

Additionally, the county will pay for the hauling of the solid waste to the Bertie landfill as well as covering the cost of the tipping fee, as it does currently. Those per haul rates are as follows:

Site 1 – Statesville Road, Como – $243.90

Site 2 – Benthall Bridge Road, Murfreesboro – $222.99

Site 3 – St. John-Millennium Road, Aulander – $91.29

Site 4 – Drive In Theatre Road, Ahoskie – $106.62

Site 5 – Newsome Grove Road, Ahoskie – $125.43

Site 6 – NC 45 South, Harrellsville – $235.53

Site 7 – Mt. Moriah Road, Winton – $188.15

Those per haul rates are subject to change (increase or decrease on a quarterly basis) due to the price of diesel fuel (now at a base rate of $3.99 per gallon).

The operating hours at all convenience sites will not change.

“Hopefully this will all be very seamless to our citizens and cost effective to the county,” Williams closed.

In its 2010-11 budget, Hertford County appropriated $532,366 in operational costs and $374,848 in salaries/benefits for its Solid Waste department.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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