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Council chooses Iris Glen

Elizabethton’s City Council approved a 5-year contract for solid waste disposal that will end up saving the city almost $92,000 in the next fiscal year.
Council unanimously approved a five-year contract with Iris Glen Landfill in Johnson City for $29.10 per ton of waste. The current contract, also with Iris Glen, is at $42.50 per ton.
Iris Glen was the lowest of three bidders. Other bidders were Advanced Disposal Services in Blountville and the Carter County Transfer Station.
Mayor Pro-Tem Bill Carter said he would have liked for the city to have worked with the county for the waste disposal services.
Mayor Curt Alexander and City Manager Jerome Kitchens agreed, but added that the financial aspect did not work out for the city in that partnership.
“We tried everything to work with Carter County,” Alexander said. “But, the numbers are just not working. I would love to deal with them but mathematically it was not happening.”
Kitchens said the proposal was rebid in an effort to make it more feasible for Carter County to come in at the lower cost. However, he said the county came in with the lowest price they could.
“They did all they could do,” he said. “If we pushed them any lower it would have put them in a loss position.”
Because Carter County is a transfer station, the city would have to pay the county’s fees and the transportation costs to get there; then the county added its costs to the bid for having to transport the waste to the final landfill site.
To calculate the bid, the city added the bidders’ price per ton, transportation costs, truck maintenance cost and employee labor to determine which would be the lowest bidder. Each bidder submitted costs for each of the five years.
For the first year, Iris Glen bid $29.10 per ton; Advanced Disposal Services bid $18.77 per ton and Carter County bid $32.67 per ton. The final per year cost for the first year with all other factors came to $338,778 for Iris Glen; $344,880 for Advanced and $350,155 for Carter County.
Alexander said while Advanced Disposal Services was cheaper per ton, the transportation costs were higher because of the drive to Blountville. He asked why labor costs would be higher when the employees would still be working the same number of hours.
Kitchens explained it was an “opportunity cost,” meaning if an employee was on the road traveling, that person could not be used for another job.
For example, in the winter, some garbage truck drivers are also snow plow drivers.
The total five-year contract cost bid was $1,754,402 for Iris Glen; $1,785,755 for Advanced Disposal Services and $1,830,482 for Carter County.