Thursday, February 9, 2006
 

Request withdrawn for Watson landfill

By SUE WATSON
Staff Writer

Resourceful Environmental Services (R.E.S.), the residential garbage handler for Marshall County, has withdrawn a proposal to construct a household waste landfill near Watson.

Supervisor Keith Taylor, also president of the Solid Waste Authority of Marshall County, announced R.E.S.’s desire to back out of a landfill site it had wanted added to the county’s Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan at a Monday night meeting of the solid waste board.

About 30 people from various districts in the county showed up for the meeting to object to the proposed landfill site.

Taylor commended supervisor George Zinn III for a timely called community meeting several weeks ago in Watson where information about the proposed landfill site was discussed.

He added that the solid waste management board will not add any other waste site to the plan under development. Site proposals could be added after the plan is approved by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Taylor said.

George Powell pressed the board on the matter.

“Is this a dead issue, a garbage dump in Marshall County, or a live issue except for the proposal submitted by R.E.S.?” he asked.

Taylor said the existing rubbish site and collection station at the West Holly Springs Exit is the only one to be kept in the plan.

“If we have to have a site, I’m going to vote for that site,” he said.

The solid waste board’s attorney, Bill Schneller, added that the solid waste management plan will go before the citizens at a public hearing and with public notice given. The plan, when finished, has to be approved by both the solid waste board and the board of supervisors and public hearings must take place before MDEQ gets the plan, he said.

“The board didn’t want to entertain any other site until they get this plan through,” Schneller said.

One citizen asked about zoning and Taylor responded that any site in the future that is proposed would have to be located in a zone that allows it.

Following the question and answer session, the solid waste board approved hiring Environmental Business Services (EBS) as a consultant to help get the plan drafted.

EBS representative Jim McNaughton said he could have the plan drafted by late March.

Schneller said MDEQ had advised they did not want a revision of the old plan but instead a new one.

County administrator Larry Hall explained that the rubbish site and collection station at West Holly Springs Exit has potential and needs to serve as a Class I landfill, a Class II rubbish site for sticks and branches and a transfer station for household garbage to shipping containers.

Supervisor Willie Flemon asked McNaughton whether the solid waste management authority can add a site after the plan is approved by MDEQ and McNaughton said it can.

McNaughton said agreements with a management company to operate the proposed 60-70 acre site adjacent to the county’s present site at West Holly Springs Exit, could bring benefits including free dumping to residents, a host fee from the operator, and perhaps reduced garbage fees.

“When you do a site, you can have these benefits added,” he said.

Schneller asked the board for a motion to authorize him to begin negotiations with North Mississippi Waste Recycling LLC on an agreement. The board approved the motion.

The solid waste authority board then voted to schedule meetings for the second Monday evening at 6 p.m. in each month. March 13 was scheduled as the next meeting date.

Afterward, Taylor took another question from the floor. The citizen asked if the board plans to negotiate another contract with R.E.S.

Taylor said the contract will be advertised for bids this year. He explained that the board wants to discontinue collecting past due bills for the contractor. The county budgets between $350,000 and $400,000 to cover past-due garbage bills but recovers about half of that, Taylor said.

“Eventually, we would recover it all,” he added.

Taylor said that two years ago the budget shortfall for collections was about $450,000 and after that the board hired someone to handle the past-due collections for the county. Since that time, the short-fall has been more or less half what it was, he said.

Joe Essary suggested property owners assume responsibility for paying the garbage bills of their renters. They can add the garbage collection fee to the rent and then pay the bill for the renter, he said, citing himself as an example.

Citizens who have old tires, furniture, appliances and other types of goods to dispose of may carry the items to the dump on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Taylor said citizens can call their district supervisor for help with hauling or dispose of this type of rubbish in dumpsters set out in communities during spring cleanup. Special arrangements must be made to dispose of hazardous or corrosive chemicals.


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