The treasure is in the trash

Published 9:12 am Thursday, August 8, 2013

WINDSOR – Two waste collection companies have submitted bids for both solid waste and recyclable trash in Bertie County.

County Manager Scott Sauer presented to the Bertie County Board of Commissioners the two names at Monday’s regular monthly board meeting.

The collection would be for door-to-door curbside pick-up countywide of household solid waste.

Despite the cost estimates submitted, the commissioners will still schedule a public hearing in October to take citizen input.

Waste Industries, headquartered in Raleigh and known for their green-and-blue logo with two arrows in a circle, submitted a bid along with Republic Services, which has blue containers with a white five-point star trimmed in red, and whose eastern North Carolina regional offices are in Wilmington.

The bidding was opened on July 25 of this year.

Waste Industries proposed a monthly fee of $8.73 for solid waste and $1.67 for recyclables, or a combined $10.40.

Republic Services’ bid was for $8.49 per month, solid waste, and recycled waste picked up at a cost of $4.35 a month for a total of $12.84.

Both services, solid waste and recyclables, on a weekly basis came to $2.40 for Waste Industries and $2.96 for Republic Services. Annually the amount came to $154.08 for Republic Services and $124.80 for Waste Industries.

“We’ve got some very competitive proposals and two very eager vendors,” Sauer told the board. “And since the receipt of this pricing we’ve had contact from both indicating that they would like an opportunity to meet with Bertie County representatives to fine-tune their proposals and present not only potential cost-saving strategies, but maybe even enhanced services.”

Sauer went on to say the recycled waste could be handled in several ways by both groups.

“Whether it be on a door-to-door basis or the use of a remote trailer system where units would be positioned throughout the county periodically,” he said. “Or there was even the possibility of incorporating continued use of some variation of the convenience centers throughout the county as part of the process.”

Sauer said his staff was continuing to fine-tune the proposals and service offerings in order to make the best final presentation before the board.

“There’s been some indication that there’s strong interest in having a public hearing,” Sauer contended. “We would request time prior to the public hearing to complete negotiations with the vendors so that we could clearly articulate what the service would look like.”

Sauer said his office would also like to see a solid waste management ordinance that incorporates all of the provisions of not only providing the service, but also the collection of fees either monthly or if done annually it would be attached to the county tax department billing cycle.

After listening to the presentation Commissioner Ronald D. “Ron” Wesson commented that both the commissioners as well as the County Manager’s office would like the negotiating process to address as many of the concerns of the citizens as possible.

“I think these continued negotiations prior to that (public hearing) session will allow us to see how many we can fold, or address, into the actual final agreement we put into place,” Wesson said.

“It gives us a chance to work not only with the price but also with the service itself,” he added. “That will allow us in the open meeting to be able to answer some of the specifics.”

Some of the specifics Wesson mentioned included price, ground trash, and even dry goods.

“The whole works,” Wesson said.

Commissioner John Trent mentioned that he had received calls from three different mayors of Bertie County towns – though he did not name them – that are interested in, as Trent put it, “coming on board” with the county.

Trent added that these mayors would be meeting with their individual town boards regarding the waste collection proposals.

In computing the number of rural county residents that would use the service, the County Manager’s office came up with a figure provided by the county tax office of 6,000 residents. Commissioner Rick Harrell asked about how they arrived at this figure.

“That does not include mobile homes,” Sauer said, “or the municipalities.”

Commissioners’ Chairman J. Wallace Perry called for a public hearing on the county waste collection proposals to be held in Windsor at the Bertie County Courthouse at 7 p.m. on Oct. 10.