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Republic retains site attendants

WINDSOR – There will be some familiar faces at the five Bertie County trash convenience sites when Republic Services takes over operation of those facilities from Waste Industries on July 1.

All the attendants at the five sites (Windsor, Hardentown, Rosemead, Lewiston-Woodville, and the Landfill) will be transitioning over to the new management.

Josephine Aiken, Municipal Services Manager for Republic Services, appeared Monday afternoon before the Bertie County Board of Commissioners at their regular meeting to present an update on the make-over.

“Everything is going extremely well,” Aiken assured the Board. “We have been able to acquire the property from Waste Industries.  Everything will stay the same, which will make it an easy transition for everyone and for us moving in.”

On March 2 the Commissioners voted for a shift from the 15-year operating agreement with Waste Industries, dating back to 2001, and signed the new contract on April 30. Republic will operate the county sites for ten years at a monthly fee of $36,859 for 36 months (w/no inflation adjustment or escalating fuel surcharge during that period); but beginning on the 4th year of the deal, a fixed-rate annual adjustment of two percent a year for the seven remaining years will take effect. That figure represents a 10 percent price cut from the old agreement and based on financial projections BertieCounty is expected to save more than $538,000 over the ten year contract.

Republic will also make five equipment adjustments: bringing an additional compactor to one of the two Windsor sites, and another site dictated by the volume of trash…8-yard roll-off containers (with tires) at all sites…closed-container for environmental waste at Lewiston and Windsor sites (no charge)…pallets at each site for batteries (no charge)…and a container for used motor oil at all sites.

“We’re planning to transition the equipment, some of which has been ordered in the next couple of weeks,” Aiken said. “We have a meeting scheduled for later this month to decide exactly how we will put our equipment in, and they (WasteInd.) will be able to use it if they need until July 1st. We probably won’t be able to do every site all in one day; we want to put the equipment in one site at a time.”

The Commissioners’ primary concern was for the current Waste Industries employees retaining their jobs with the new company. Aiken said despite interest from 20-to-30 new applicants, the company held the positions for the current Waste Industries employees, adding that applications were available at the Republic website, and an additional meeting was to be held Tuesday, June 2, at the Town of Windsor Chamber of Commerce for any current employees who did not have computer or online access.

“The jobs were posted about a month ago,” she stated. “I went around to each of the sites and we gave out information to the attendants on how to apply. We’ve held out the positions for the current site attendants and just about all have applied.”

Aiken said despite the new applications, almost all of the current attendants want to be retained.

Commissioner Ernestine Byrd Bazemore asked if all the current attendants had been contacted, and Aiken said they all had been, personally.

“If it’s a situation where they don’t know how, that’s why we’re having the meeting at the Chamber tomorrow,” she replied. “We want them all.  It’ll make it an easy transition for us and we want them to work for us.”

Commission chairman Ron Wesson said he had received inquiries about the potholes at the Windsor site.

“That’s been a problem all along,” he said.  “Maybe it’s the high volume (of traffic), especially where the property meet the highway. That has been an ongoing issue at all of the sites.”

Commissioner John Trent said he had been in contact with Division Manager Matt East about pothole repairs, including recommending a Lewiston company, Albemarle Resources, that has equipment and materials.

“I told him we have several areas at the sites with bad potholes and things of that nature and we’ve got equipment that can handle that,” Trent said.

Aiken said Republic will try to fill the potholes.

“When we move in we will bring graders and everything,” she said.

Commission vice-chair Tammy Lee complimented Republic for their efforts in re-signing the Waste Industries employees.

“Matt East has been more than helpful,” Lee stated. ‘We appreciate you going the extra mile to get them signed up.”

On Tuesday, all 11 of the current site attendants were present for the meeting with Republic Services held at the Chamber of Commerce in Windsor.

According to Aiken, 10 attendants will be retained and one has opted for retirement due to health reasons.  There will be two attendants – one for each shift at each of the five sites, plus one roving attendant; that position has yet to be filled, and could possibly come from one member of the current group.  Aiken also did not say if any of the attendants would move from their current center to a new location once Republic’s transition is complete.

“All went well,” Aiken said of the two sides’ meeting. “We feel very confident.”