Thursday, May 25, 2006
Authority focuses on landfill, make-up of board
By SUE WATSON
The board of the Solid Waste Authority of Marshall County discussed amending its bylaws last week and considered a site for a solid waste landfill - measures required to complete a preliminary draft of the comprehensive plan for the county.
Supervisor Keith Taylor, chairman of the solid waste authority board, argued for keeping the landfill site located adjacent to the Marshall County transfer station (dump) in the plan.
“A landfill would take our household garbage and in the future get our garbage rates down,” he said.
Consultant Jim McNaughton, with Environmental Business Solutions, told the board that public hearings would have to be held for both the Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan and a proposed landfill site.
Holly Springs alderman Russell Johnson, who also serves on the airport committee and the solid waste authority board, questioned if the use of the proposed site as a landfill would be the best use of the land located so near the airport.
“I don’t know if it is a good location to keep the area free for growth,” he said.
“That’s a good point,” McNaughton said, also noting that the solid waste plan and permitting process are separate procedures.
“There are at least 22 to 25 site location criteria, one including the proximity to an airport.”
Taylor said the site was already established as a possible rubbish landfill in the first Comprehensive Plan which was rejected by Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality a year ago based on several deficiencies.
McNaughton said some counties hold public hearings to help decide potential locations for solid waste sites.
“That site has never had any resistance (public opposition), but it could if there is a public hearing,” Taylor said. “I think the board of supervisors wanted the site kept for consideration.”
“The airport authority should be consulted,” Johnson said.
Supervisor Willie Flemon, also on the solid waste authority board, said he likes the site near the West Holly Springs exit because it is located off a state highway - U.S. 78.
Taylor agreed that traffic routing is ideal but that the airport growth area may need to be thought out.
Attorney Bill Schneller, for the solid waste authority board, brought up another issue MDEQ had with the make up of the solid waste authority board.
“We have an opinion from MDEQ that you have to include cities as members of the authority - Potts Camp, Byhalia and Holly Springs,” he said.
He said municipalities must join the authority or opt out and draw up their own solid waste management plan. Currently, the authority has no representation from the town of Potts Camp.
“MDEQ wants us to amend our bylaws to allow other entities and to give them appointment rights on the authority,” Schneller said.
He said the state interprets the statutes to say each municipality will have appointment authority and voting power based on population, and he recommended amending the bylaws.
Taylor said the solid waste authority thought it had provided for that when it made board appointments.
“I thought we went by guidelines to do it,” he said. “Right now the municipalities have their own solid waste (service providers).”
Taylor noted that the cities’ voting power on the authority could dictate what the county’s garbage collection and disposal rates would be.
“The part you are discussing is just a part of the plan,” McNaughton said. “The rest covers both incorporated and unincorporated areas.”
Rory Reardon, consultant with Environmental Business Solutions, explained that based on population, Marshall County would still have the most weight and the cities can either opt in or out.
McNaughton recommended amending the bylaws as quickly as possible to avoid delay in completing the solid waste management plan.
Schneller added that when the authority gets a landfill in operation, “theoretically the authority could take over collecting household solid waste for the cities.
“The economic scale would allow competitive bargaining and the landfill would give it more leverage,” he said.
McNaughton recommended a seven member board - an appointee from each of the three municipalities and four named by the Marshall County Board of Supervisors.
Johnson then motioned to go with a seven-member board as suggested and the motion passed unanimously.
A motion was then made to put the municipal solid waste site in the comprehensive plan as designated off Highway 78 adjacent to the county transfer station.
The motion passed 4-1 with Johnson opposing the motion.
Schneller and McNaughton suggested it would take a month to set up the new solid waste board.
At last week’s Holly Springs Board of Aldermen meeting, the board approved a resolution to become a member of the Solid Waste Authority of Marshall County.
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