Natural demise

Published 8:22 am Thursday, October 23, 2014

WINDSOR – This time there’s no slipping on a banana peel, or one foot in the grave, or half in-half out.

Monday night at their regular evening meeting, the Bertie County Board of Commissioners officially put an end to curbside garbage pick-up.

Not an end to ‘talk’ about it, but an end to everything to do with it.

On Oct. 16 the Board held a public hearing in the Bertie County Courthouse where they thought they would hear citizen input on a proposed new contract for Bertie County’s convenience center trash sites.

Instead, the public hearing became an open forum where the speakers not only voiced their overwhelming displeasure at the issue of curbside trash pick-up, but also wanted to know if the issue would be raised by the Board of Commissioners again.

Meanwhile, there was very little discussion on a new convenience sites contract, though the Board will accept competing requests for proposal (RFP’s) up until Nov. 6.  Thus far only current contract holder, Waste Industries; and Republic Services, operators of the county’s landfill, have submitted proposals.

During the public comments section of Monday’s meeting, Merry Hill resident Kathy Myers – who had also spoken at last week’s public hearing – said she was disappointed that it was during the public hearing that those attending first heard that the idea of curbside trash collection was “dead and buried”.

“Not by an official announcement by you,” she chided the Board, “unless I missed that.”

Myers went on to state that the issue is still receiving quite a bit of attention and discussion among county residents.

“There was plenty of opportunity in past meetings for (the Board) to inform folks who came before you that the issue was dead and buried,” Myers continued. “You did not.

“For anybody to put this back on the public by saying we missed (media reports) about it being tabled or that the public had not attended all of the meetings was disingenuous at best,” she added. “We elected you to represent us and we are supposed to trust representation, not attend all of your meetings to make sure everything is on the up and up.”

Myers concluded her comments by saying nothing in media reports suggested that curbside pick-up was dead.

After the close of public comments, but prior to addressing business on the Board’s agenda, Commissioner Ronald D. “Ron” Wesson rose and slowly, deliberately began to make some remarks.

“Before we get into the other things on the agenda, I would like to offer a motion to the floor which I think will put this whole matter to bed once and for all around curbside and around convenience centers,” Wesson announced.

He then made a motion to extend the use of convenience centers by obtaining the best possible contract from companies that have responded to the county’s RFP and to discontinue all further consideration of curbside garbage collection.

Wesson’s motion was seconded by Commissioner John Trent.

In repeating the motion before vote, Chairman J. Wallace Perry made certain it would be clear in the public record.

“In other words, take it off the table and whomp it,” he emphasized, which produced light laughter around the room from those in attendance.

Commissioner Rick Harrell requested clarity regarding the RFP and the bids the county was expecting.  Wesson repeated his motion.

“To extend the use of convenience centers,” Wesson said. “Meaning that we agree that we are going to continue the use of convenience centers and that we’re going to obtain the best possible contract that we can from companies that we bid with.”

“That’s what we plan to do?” asked Harrell.

“That exactly what we plan to do,” answered Wesson.

The Commissioners then made certain that the record indicate that the RFP deadline was Nov. 6, after which Harrell again wanted to make certain the wording of the motion was clear.

“Your motion exactly is to defeat (curbside pick-up discussion), to totally defeat it,” asked Harrell.

“It (the motion) will do two things,” said Wesson. “It is first to continue the use of our convenience sites, and to put to put the matter to bed around curbside.”

With no further discussion the matter passed unanimously as those in attendance politely applauded.

Before moving to the regular agenda, Perry gave the audience a short civics lesson.

“Just for your information, in parliamentary procedure, when you table a proposal like that (curbside), it lays on the table.  The RFP was out of date.  You couldn’t deal on it anyway, it was already out of date.  Evidently, a lot of people didn’t understand that.”