STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON JULY 26, 2001
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 3:00 p.m. in the Commissioners' Conference Room of the Henderson County Office Building.
Those present were: Chairman Bill Moyer, Vice-Chair Marilyn Gordon, Commissioner Grady Hawkins, Commissioner Don Ward, Commissioner Charlie Messer, County Manager David E. Nicholson, and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.
Also present were: Public Information Officer Chris S. Coulson and County Engineer Gary Tweed.
Absent were: County Attorney Angela S. Beeker and Assistant County Attorney Jennifer O. Jackson.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Moyer called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss solid waste. The Board did carry over an item from yesterday=s meeting which is the proposed contract with the Asheville/Buncombe/Henderson Water Authority to construct a waterline to American Freightways.
Chairman Moyer made the motion to add the proposed agreement between Henderson County and the Asheville/Buncombe/Henderson Water Authority with respect to the construction of the American Freightways waterline and the agreement with Lapsley Associates to today=s agenda. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
PROPOSED CONTRACT WITH ASHEVILLE/BUNCOMBE/HENDERSON WATER AUTHORITY To Construct a Waterline To American Freightways
Drafts of the proposed contract were distributed at yesterday=s meeting. A copy was also faxed to Craig Justus, Council for the Water Authority.
A couple of changes were discussed to the proposed draft at yesterday=s meeting. Chairman Moyer asked for comments and/or any changes from the Commissioners and then the Board would need to approve the form of the agreement.
Commissioner Hawkins made the motion to approve the contracts as presented including the resolution discussed yesterday approving the arrangement with William G. Lapsley & Associates. He added to his motion the authority for the Chairman to negotiate and make any changes that are not inconsistent with the terms approved here, in case there are some minor wording changes. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
SOLID WASTE ACTIVITIES
Commissioner Hawkins briefly reviewed the history of our solid waste activities. He is the Board=s representative to the Solid Waste Advisory Committee.
The history of the solid waste activities go back to about the 1960 timeframe when the Stoney Mountain Landfill was first opened. It operated for thirty some years before it was closed down. The closing of the landfill for solid waste made it imperative that the county ship solid waste to some other facility with which we have been under contract since the Stoney Mountain facility closed. We ship our solid waste to the Pamlico Landfill. There has been a lot of on-going discussion over several years of various approaches to handle solid waste in our county.
He explained that fall a year ago, this county took the initiative of asking Land-of-Sky to call together, in addition to those counties that are actually in the Land-of-Sky region, some additional counties to see if we could find some common ground for a true solid waste organization to take care of solid waste on a regional basis.
Various counties are at different places on the solid waste spectrum. Some counties have just opened up a landfill, some counties have just completed a contract with someone else to haul their waste, everyone is dealing with solid waste in their own time frame. Transylvania County was almost ready to close out one cell and open up another cell of their landfill in Transylvania County. Buncombe County, the largest county in the area, had just gone through the process of siting, permitting, and building a large landfill near Alexander. They also had some litigation on land that they had taken by eminent domain. The bottom line was that Buncombe County was not in the position where a regional approach to a landfill offered very much to them.
Commissioner Hawkins stated that we didn=t have much to offer at the time except a new transfer station we had just built. In solid waste, volume makes all the difference. The results of the meeting with Land-of-Sky was that we didn=t get much of a response from any county that was invited to the table.
Then Chairman Hawkins and the County Manager proceeded on an individual basis to contact several counties to see if they could solicit some interest in a regional approach and a long-term solution to some of our solid waste needs. They met with the Chairman and County Manager from Transylvania County. Mr. Hawkins had several telephone conversations with the Chairman in Rutherford County and staff talked with the County Manager. They didn=t get a good response from those counties either.
Volume is important and one thing that helps control volume is franchising waste haulers. Buncombe County is franchised with GDS. They have a lot of control over the flow of solid waste in their county. Henderson County does not have franchising.
One big plus for Henderson County was that we were permitted for an additional C & D landfill.
Mr. Hawkins stated that when he went to the regional workshop at Land-of-Sky he looked at two areas who had taken a regional approach to solid waste, one was the Coastal Regional Solid Waste Management. Three counties are involved in that: Pamlico, Craven, and Carterett.
The Board had looked at an updated offer from our current contract. The meeting was turned over to Gary Tweed to review the contract.
HENDERSON COUNTY SOLID WASTE DEPARTMENT
First, Gary Tweed reviewed what the Solid Waste Department does, the different materials they handle, etc. The municipal solid waste that is hauled out of the facility is just one aspect of the program.
The Henderson County Solid Waste Program has been operating since the beginning of 1998 primarily as a Transfer Station operation. All solid waste materials except construction and demolition materials are transferred off site.
He stated that the municipal solid waste that we truck out of the facility is just one aspect of the program. The solid waste staff handle several different solid waste materials:
Wood and Yard Waste
We handle about 1,500 tons per year. Currently we have that material ground into a mulch by a contractor. The mulch is then the property of the contractor. The material is being recycled. We are currently charged $14 per ton and we charge a tipping fee of $47.91 per ton so we do make money on this operation.
White Goods and Scrap Metal
White goods are your appliances. We process about 1,600 tons per year of this material. We currently have a contract with a vendor to pick up the material and haul it to his processing center. He pays us $7.50 per ton currently. That rate is good for this next year. Prices vary with the metal contractors, depending on the market conditions. We receive the white good tax from the state, the tax you pay when you purchase an appliance. This program is self-sufficient.
We take in a lot of tires, averaging over 300 tires per day. We have to manually load the tires into trailers, then they are shipped to a tire reprocessing facility. It costs us $96 per ton to have the tires transported to that facility. We do get tax money back from the state. When you buy tires you pay a disposal fee. They also have a grant program where you can request grant funds out of the tire fund to cover any cost over-runs above what the distributions are. We have been getting the grants and it=s just covering the cost of the program.
Our recycling facility at Stoney Mountain collects about 150 tons per month of fiber and containers; cardboard, mixed paper, newspaper, plastic containers, #1 and #2 plastics, aluminum cans, tin cans, and all glass. We have a contract with a facility in Greenville. We ship the materials to Greenville to a MRF (materials recovery facility) and they process fiber and containers. All the paper and cardboard material is taken from that facility to Greensboro where they make cellulose insulation with it. The program is working pretty well but the problem is with fluctuating market conditions which changes the price we get paid for the materials. Currently we only get $5 per ton for the fiber product. That does not cover the cost of us handling the materials.
David Nicholson asked Mr. Tweed what it costs us to run our recycling program. Mr. Tweed stated that the transportation costs run about $3,000 per month, so about $40,000 per year for transportation costs which doesn=t include on-site personnel. Probably bottom line cost is about $75,000 to $100,000 per year. David Nicholson stated that recycling is the right thing to do but it not the cheapest thing to do.
Commissioner Gordon raised a question about the bag-for-bag program and asked for a break-out of the costs for the bag-for-bag program.
Land of Sky has been working with four counties to try to develop a regional MRF.
Construction and Demolition Waste
Upon closing of the existing municipal solid waste (MSW) Landfill at the end of 1997, the County also lost its landfill for the C&D Waste. The State allowed those Counties with remaining capacity in the closed MSW Landfills to apply for permits to continue to fill with C&D Waste. Henderson County received such a permit and began filling on top of the old landfill in October 1998. This allows the County to avoid the cost of shipping the C&D Waste with the MSW. The C&D Waste volume is approx. 10,000 to 12,000 tons per year. At the $47.91 tipping fee, the C&D Waste Stream generates approximately $500,000 in revenue. We avoid approx. $340,000 per year in costs by not shipping out this material. Since the C&D Landfill has been open, the program has generated approx. $1,300,000 in revenue.
The current C&D Landfill will be at capacity by the end of this year. The County has obtained a new C&D permit for use of the old borrow pit. Construction is now underway on the new C&D Landfill. Operation of the new C&D Landfill should begin this fall and this new area should last for approx. 3 to 5 years. Other areas of the borrow pit are being considered for future expansions of the new C&D Landfill which could extend the life another 5 to 10 years. Following start up of the new C&D Landfill, staff will begin discussions with the State on the permitting of the remaining areas for future C&D disposal. No other changes are recommended in this program at this time.
Municipal Solid Waste
The County generates approx. 76,000 tons per year of municipal solid waste (MSW). Approximately 41,000 tons of the MSW has been coming to the County=s Solid Waste Transfer Station. The remaining 35,000 tons has been taken out of the County to other facilities, primarily the Waste Management owned transfer station in Buncombe County. Solid Waste Collection is provided by private companies with the majority of the waste being collected by GDS. GDS will divert solid waste flow from the Henderson County Facility depending on tipping fees. Since beginning the operation of the transfer station, the County has been in a constant struggle to maintain a low tipping fee in order to control the flow of solid waste. The County has not raised tipping fees since the transfer station began operation on 1/1/1998. Waste Management has raised its fees for hauling and disposal from $30.82/ton to $33.47/ton effective 1/1/2001. At this higher rate the Henderson County Solid Waste Program banks less revenues than previous years. Waste Management has recently raised their tipping fees at their Buncombe County Transfer Station. This has resulted in GDS returning to our facility increasing solid waste flows at about 1,000 tons per month. This generates additional revenue but also increases operational costs. The concern is that if we raise tipping fees, then solid waste will be diverted away from our facility.
In looking at long term options it is necessary to look at where there is available landfill capacity. The following are landfills with capacity available to Henderson County and expected life:
Facility Operated by Expected Life
Caldwell County, NC GDS 30-35 years
Union County, SC GDS, Proposed 40 years
Palmetto, SC Waste Management 7 years
At the time we sought bids on our current contract, GDS did not have control of a landfill in the area, and did not submit a bid. Just recently GDS has inquired about bidding on providing our MSW hauling and disposal services. They have indicated that since they have started operation of the Caldwell County Landfill and future Union County Landfill, that they can be competitive with Waste Management. The permit for the Union County Landfill has been challenged and at this time there is no guarantee that this project will develop. Therefore, the only available landfill would be their Caldwell County facility. Having a contract with GDS could allow for the control of the GDS collected waste in the County. Using a GDS owned landfill would create the situation where GDS would not want to use a Waste Management Transfer Station. This would take the Waste Management Transfer Station out of current competition for a majority of the waste generated in the County. GDS has also indicated that they would be willing to enter into a long term contract. Therefore, one long term option would be to enter into contract with GDS.
PROPOSED CONTRACT EXTENSION
Staff has been in negotiation with Waste Management on the extension of our current contract which runs to the end of 2003. It calls for the County to pay $33.47/ton during this period for hauling and disposal. We have a 21.5 ton/load minimum and the contract has a six month out. Waste Management proposed extension of the contract for years 2004, 2005, 2006 with an annual adjustment of the $33.47/ton charge based on CPI. They also wanted to start immediately a fuel adjustment charge which would add $1 to $2 per ton. The Board of Commissioners authorized staff to negotiate with Waste Management on the extension of the contract. The County Manager and County Engineer met with Waste Management representatives and outlined the following items that we would like incorporated into the contract extension:
1- Leave current Contract with Waste Management as is, through 2003, except.
a: Reduce 21.5 ton/load minimum to 20 ton/load
b: Tractor Trailer equipment to be minimum 52 foot long trailers and lightweight cabs
(no sleeper or extended cabs allowed)
c: By end of 2001 equip tractor/trailers with on board weigh systems.
d: All Solid Waste collected in Henderson County by Waste Management or any associated firms must use Henderson County Transfer Station
e. Six month out to remain
2- Extend contract for years 2004, 2005, 2006 with annual adjustment of $33.47/ton charge based on CPI. First adjustment January 1, 2004.
3- By end of 2001, Waste Management to submit proposal for long term contract to handle Henderson County MSW. Minimum 10 year contract.
4- Develop separate contract for hauling of recyclables to FCR in Greenville, S.C. Equipment to utilize at least a 52' Walking Floor trailer. Contract to specify lease for trailer and cost per load to transport to FCR.
Waste Management staff met with the County Engineer on July 16, 2001 and advised that they would be willing to extend the contract under the terms above with the exception that they would want the six month out removed for the remaining time of the current contract through 2003. They felt that with the concessions they were making that they needed the contract to run to the end of 2003 for them to recoup costs incurred to make the above modifications. Beginning in 2004 the six month out would be reinstated in the contract. In addition, that due to some collection contract requirements they would only be able to divert approximately 1,000 tons per month of their solid waste volumes collected in this County to our station. Looking at a long term concept, they also went on to say that they have landfill capacity sufficient to enter into a 10 year contract but would prefer to wait a few months while they evaluate some other developing options. In summary, Waste Management is willing to extend the contract through 2006 under most of our terms and will continue to work on developing a 10 year plan.
Another long term option would be to construct a landfill. This could be done just by Henderson County or through a public private partnership. In addition, Counties could form a Regional Solid Waste Authority, and construct a Regional Landfill. In order for this to be cost effective for Henderson County, the County would need to join with other Counties or private Companies to increase the solid waste flow to be competitive with other private landfills. Flow control would be an issue, and likely require the County to take control of the Solid Waste Collection in the County. This could be done through franchising and inter-municipal agreements. To go through this process could take a minimum of 10 years, and will be politically very unpopular. Economically, this will only be cost effective if solid waste flows can be increased by public/private partnerships or joining with other Counties. Joining with Buncombe County, to use their landfill, would be attractive provided their gate fee of $32/ton could be lowered to around $20-$25/ton. This is where Mr. Tweed expected GDS and Waste Management to have their gate fees for the foreseeable future. Mr. Tweed doubted that Buncombe County would be receptive to lowering their gate fee. In order to use the Buncombe County landfill, they will likely require that Henderson County acquire a site for a future landfill.
GDS promises they will come up with a plan for 10 years by the end of this year.
Mr. Tweed stated that he had no doubt, that if and when GDS opens the Union County SC landfill that they will be in a position to control a lot of the solid waste flow within reasonable distance to that facility. They have stated that they will be allowed to take in Solid Waste from any County that touches within a 75 mile radius of the facility. He does not think the Union County Landfill will be available for 2 - 3 years. Since it can take 10 years or so to site, construct, and begin operation of a new landfill, he sees no choice but to continue the transfer of the MSW to a private landfill. Our current contract with Waste Management runs to the end of 2003. He recommended that we accept Waste Management=s proposal for extension and modification of the current contract. We will be required to use Waste Management to the end of 2003 at which time we would have the option of exercising a Asix month out@ for years 2004, 2005, 2006.
He feels that we should continue our discussion with other counties about a regional approach. He feels that is a very viable option.
Commissioner Hawkins stated that this is some new information that he has just gotten himself as well as the other Board members. He also stated that the SWAC has been laying dormant for the last few months. He stated that Mr. Bill Ferrell, a member of the SWAC, was in the audience. Commissioner Hawkins suggested that we refer the contract and hold a joint meeting with SWAC and try to bring back a recommendation to the Commissioners= August 15 meeting.
Mr. Nicholson stated that staff will continue to work on this contract at the same time we work with the SWAC. Gary Tweed stated that Waste Management has indicated that they can handle this with an amendment to our current contract and they will be glad to put that together for us.
Chairman Moyer informed Mr. Nicholson that the Board would like to name their softball team the Henderson Hammers. For the public - Mr. Nicholson stated that there will be a softball game between Henderson County and the Town of Fletcher at Fletcher Recreation Park Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Henderson County plans to hammer the Town of Fletcher in softball.
Commissioner Messer - Announcement
Commissioner Messer announced that a group of 11 year old AAll Stars@ from Henderson County that went to Polkville, N.C. a couple of weeks ago, won a state championship. Henderson County should be proud. They are going somewhere in Alabama to play tomorrow.
Any kids playing ball in Henderson County deserve a Apat on the back@. Henderson County is being represented and is being represented good.
Commissioner Hawkins made the motion for the Board to adjourn at 4:00 p.m. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board William L. Moyer, Chairman