No rush to dump
The city of Greensboro has proposals in hand from six contractors that would like the opportunity to “push and pack” household garbage in the limited section of the White Street Landfill that is permitted by the state. A judge put a stop to the city’s plans to initiate a 15-year contract in June by ruling that the city hasn’t done the necessary due diligence to offer access to the un-permitted portions of the landfill.
A consultant has told the city that the section that can legally be used at this time has 4.4 years of life left in it, or 7.6 years if the landfill only accepts city-collected waste.
The section that can legally be used at this time has about four and half years of life left in it, according to an assessment by consultant Joe Readling last week.
No surprise that the cost savings have diminished considerably now that the city can only guarantee a 4.4- year waste stream versus a 15-year gravy train: It comes down to efficiencies of scale. Council members have bandied around a savings figure of $8 million, but under the least costly option the city would save only $5.3 million per year, and that involves using up the landfill in 4.4 years.
Republic Services, which currently accepts the city’s waste at its landfill in Montgomery County, told the city it could save $3.5 million by increasing recycling and composting and by capturing methane, among other ways — and do it without reopening the landfill. But atlarge Councilman Danny Thompson has indicated he’s not impressed.
The narrow majority will plow ahead.
Did you get that? The potential cost savings of reopening the landfill, not counting the cost of litigation, could be as little as $300,000 to $1.2 million.
The city council was expected to vote to select a vendor to operate the landfill on Tuesday, after we go to press. Why? The council has embarked on an aggressive timetable to select a contractor by Sept. 20 and have trucks rolling through the gate by mid-October, well before the new council is seated in December.
They’re playing a high-stakes game, and they could pay a political price if voters decide in November that they’ve mishandled the matter.
YES! Weekly initially supported reopening the landfill for financial reasons, but reversed position in April.
To gauge just how unpopular the move to reopen the landfill is, consider the stance taken by Republican mayoral candidate Tom Phillips, thought to be the city council’s stalwart conservative during the 1990s.
“As we learned from Charlotte, the remaining capacity should be reserved as a backup to keep waste haulers competitive and for emergencies,” he wrote in response to our questionnaire. “If we use up that capacity without another alternative in place, we will be at the mercy of the hauling companies.”
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