Solid Waste upgrades approved

Published 10:00 am Friday, November 23, 2012

WINTON – Nearly $300,000 worth of improvements have been approved for Hertford County’s Solid Waste/Recycling department.

At their regularly scheduled meeting here Monday night, the county’s Board of Commissioners agreed to use $288,853 of that department’s fund balance to purchase several items listed as “priority” by county Public Works Director Mike Bradley.

Those items include replacing the truck scale ($61,123), tipping floor ($24,600) scale house ($45,000) and loader ($103,130) at the county’s Solid Waste/Recycling Center on Mt. Moriah Road as well as spending $10,000 to fill sedimentation holes at the old landfill.

Other priority items approved were replacing six attendance houses at the county’s convenience sites (a total of $43,000) and replace and update signage at seven sites. The attendance houses are pre-fabricated and will be delivered and installed.

Prior to making their decision to approve the items, the commissioners and county staffers engaged in a discussion on the issue at hand.

“Yes, I agree we need a loader; I’ve been down there (to the landfill) and that’s a big need,” said Commissioner Howard Hunter III. “My question is do we need a backhoe as well.”

“There is a need for a new backhoe, but the list of items you have before you are the ones ranked as priority,” said Bradley. “These are our number one needs.”

“I think it would be wise to purchase a loader with a built-in backhoe,” Hunter noted.

“Are we trying to get everything or just what’s on this list,” inquired Commissioner Ronald Gatling.

“What’s on this list are the desperate needs,” Bradley stated. “I’ll address the other needs at a later time.”

Bradley added that three of the items – truck scale, tipping floor and filling the sedimentation holes at the old landfill – are required projects resulting from the annual compliance audit report from the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources.

County Manager Loria Williams said that the loader would have to bid due to a county policy that calls for the bidding process on items exceeding $99,000. The reminder of the new items on Bradley’s priority list can be handled informally.

“The solid waste fund balance can handle all these purchases,” Williams said.

That fund balance was listed at $931,705. However, after a quick check, it was discovered that the recent audit of the county’s funds showed that balance at $830,447. Despite that $100,000 decline, Williams noted the fund balance was still strong enough to handle all of the priority needs.

On a motion from Hunter, those items were approved by a 5-0 vote.

Additionally, the board approved a list of surplus items no longer needed for operation for the Solid Waste/Recycling department. Bradley said he had three quotes, the highest at 12.5 cents per pound, to sell those metal items to a scrap dealer.

Bradley also suggested a way to trim labor within his department through the purchase of a new, pull-behind trailer, priced at $2,100, that could be used by just one employee to collect the e-waste (junked electronics) every two weeks from each of the county’s convenience sites.

“Right now we have two people performing that job because we have a trailer that is not the best in the world,” he noted. “This new trailer, with a drop-down tailgate, can be handled by one worker, saving us about eight hours of labor every other week.”

The purchase of that trailer was approved.

In another measure approved by the board dealing with the county’s solid waste convenience sites, each will be closed on Thanksgiving Day based on Bradley’s recommendation as he said that is the slowest day of the year at each of those locations.

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.

email author More by Cal