Supervisors vote to take out the trash in Jefferson CountyPublished 12:11am Thursday, June 28, 2012
NATCHEZ — Adams County is going to be sending its garbage to Jefferson County.
The Adams County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to open negotiations for a 10-year waste disposal contract with Riverbend Environmental Services, a landfill and waste disposal service located four miles into Jefferson County. The change in service will end a 20-year waste disposal contract with Waste Management. Waste Management still retains the county’s separate waste pickup contract, which will not expire until next year.
County Administrator Joe Murray and Board Attorney Scott Slover spent the last month reviewing the proposals the two companies submitted, and — though the numbers fluctuate based on factors like waste volume and proposed host fees — Slover said the difference in costs was approximately $33,500 annually in favor of Riverbend.
The Riverbend Environmental Services proposal included:
•A fee of $21 per ton of waste disposed at Riverbend’s Jefferson County site.
•A reduction in fees as waste tonnage at the site increases.
•A $1,000 guaranteed annual donation earmarked for recreation.
•A proposal that neither Adams County residents nor the county would be billed for residents disposing of personal waste at the site.
The Waste Management proposal included:
•A fee of $36 per ton of waste disposed at the Waste Management site.
•A host fee that has heretofore generated approximately $46,000 for Adams County annually.
•A proposed host fee that would designate approximately $11,000 toward a county recreation program.
“If we just take the guaranteed cost and don’t take in host fees, you have got a $90,000 differential in costs,” Slover said.
Supervisor Mike Lazarus said that if the proposed recreation host fee was deducted from the total package — and it shouldn’t be counted because it wouldn’t actually go toward waste costs, he said — then the difference between the proposals was $44,000 annually if the non-recreation host fee was factored in.
Slover cited the fact that the county’s collection contract is separate from the disposal contract as a matter of some concern. The collections contract allows for fuel adjustments, which might be necessary when calculating the distance to the new disposal site.
However, Slover said Riverbend is willing to work with the county on the issue.
“If we go with Riverbend, a place in another county, our collections (costs may) suddenly jump up, and we lose our savings,” he said. “Riverbend has agreed to some kind of clause that allows a renegotiation if collections jump.”
When Supervisor David Carter asked if future plans could include having disposal and collections contracts coincide, Murray said he has looked at it.
Having the two contracts let for bid at the same time is one thing, Murray said, but pairing them may not be ideal because it could exclude companies that do pickup but not disposal.
“I think you (would) lose some of your bargaining power when it comes time to deal with a collection company,” Murray said.
Adams County generates an average of 500 tons of waste monthly.
The vote to change services was not unanimous, however, with Carter dissenting.
Carter said the board should keep in mind that Waste Management has already invested significant infrastructure in Adams County, has hired a number of local residents and has been a good corporate citizen, donating to numerous local non-profits.
After the vote, Carter said he had wanted to speak up for the local company, but was happy to work with Riverbend.
In other news:
•The supervisors adopted a resolution of commendation for Joe and Dianne Good of Natchez for their work with high-risk youths.
•The supervisors voted to reappoint Red Owens to the Natchez-Adams County Port Commission.
•The supervisors voted to authorize Emergency 911 Director Stan Owens to apply for a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant for fire equipment.
•The supervisors voted to authorize Murray to begin working on a county employee dress code.