Expand the landfill or convert to a transfer station? Committee seeks outside analysis

Published 9:30 pm Monday, April 4, 2022

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
Carter County officials likely will seek a cost-benefit analysis before determining whether to try and expand the existing landfill or convert it to a transfer station.
The plan to seek an outside firm’s recommendation came after a lengthy discussion during Monday’s committee meeting. Chairman Gary Bailey pressed fellow committee members on the need to address the landfill’s future, as the facility continues edging closer to capacity.
“Are we shutting it down or going to have a transfer station? People are used to taking their trash and demolition to the landfill but once you take it away, that’s where it becomes a problem,” he said.
Solid waste director Benny Lyons told the committee that a state representative who came in last week had concerns with the steep topography of the landfill and surrounding property. “They are afraid that we might not have enough land,” said Lyons. “An engineer would have to do a study. Before the first bucket of dirt, you are probably looking at $1 million. You might be better served to do a modernized transfer station.”
And, expanding the landfill would require acquiring adjacent property – an issue already causing concern in the community. Bailey said he has heard of a letter circulating that falsely says the commission will acquire the land by eminent domain. “There was no vote to take anyone’s land,” Bailey said.
County Attorney Josh Hardin suggested the cost-benefit analysis. “You just can’t make a decision without having that type of information,” Hardin said.
Lyons was asked to contact Kim Rhea to get assistance in identifying potential companies to do the study. Commission chairwoman Ginger Holdren reminded the committee that if the cost was going to be over $25,000, a request for proposal (RFP) would have to be utilized.
The director also updated the committee on March numbers as the landfill took in over $133,000 of trash and demolition materials. Cardboard remains at $170 a ton and the recycling effort resulted in over 390 bales being sold for a total of $17,000.
Lyons also provided an update on the status of the break-in over a month ago at the landfill’s office.
“I’ve turned in all video and they have a name and are I am just waiting for them to take action,” said Lyons. They took fingerprints and swabs of blood that were in the bathroom. I took still photos from the videos and I have a pretty good idea of who it was that broke in.”
Finance Director Carolyn Watson also told the committee that she cannot turn the theft into insurance until she receives the correct report from the sheriff’s department.
“We have time, but it’s silly that we are having to wait for the report,” Watson said.

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