Public Hearing On Solid Waste Options

Published 3:05 pm Monday, December 31, 2012

BUCKINGHAM – Residents will have an opportunity on Monday, January 14 to share their thoughts on how Buckingham should handle its trash.

During the December meeting of the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors, the board scheduled a public hearing, in conjunction with its regular January meeting, to gather input on the disposal of the county's solid waste. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Peter Francisco Auditorium of the new country administration building.

At issue is whether the county should continue to haul its trash to the landfill in Prince Edward or consider other options. Additionally, supervisors are contemplating whether to close the unfenced/satellite dumpster sites on Routes 617, 657, Route 15 at Bates Market, and at the intersection of 638 and 637 in the Andersonville area.

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During the board's November meeting, Assistant County Administrator Karl Carter provided a PowerPoint presentation that offered information on some of the options.

According to Carter, the county spent $802,000 in FY12 to take care of its solid waste. However, he explained that figure represents operational costs but excludes capital expenditures such as the purchase of new solid waste trucks and dumpsters as well as the expenses associated with maintaining and upgrading the solid waste sites.

He added that during FY12, the county expended an additional $204,000 in capital funds for a trash truck.

Drawing information from a proposal submitted by Van der Linde Recycling, Carter shared that the company, which recycles trash rather than placing it in a landfill, would provide solid waste disposal service for the county, including the schools, at a cost of $588,000 per year.

Van der Linde would utilize its compactors at the sites and would haul the waste to the recycling facility with its trucks. However, the county would be responsible for providing personnel to monitor each of the county's fenced sites when they are open.

At that November meeting, Carter explained that no county-owned trucks or dumpsters would be needed, which he noted would also provide a savings in maintenance, fuel, and general operating expenses.

Conversely, he noted that although several full-time positions would be eliminated, the county would need to increase the number of part-time employees to serve as site monitors. Additionally, porta-johns would be required at the sites for those employees.

Carter added that there would also be increased utility costs due to the compactors and the addition of four phones.

In another option, Carter said the county could choose to continue to use all of the county's trucks to transport the solid waste to Van der Linde for recycling rather than haul it to the landfill as it currently does.

With that scenario, Carter said the county would pay Van der Linde $47 per ton for the solid waste disposal. He added that the county is currently paying $44 per ton to Prince Edward for the use of its landfill.

When the subject continued at the December meeting, another option surfaced that proposed the county continue the status quo but haul trash to both Prince Edward and Van der Linde, depending on the proximity of the solid waste sites to the respective landfill and/or recycling facility.

However, prior to the board's discussion, Chairman Monroe Snoddy told his fellow board members that former supervisor Bobby Jones wanted to comment on the issue.

From the podium, Jones reminded the board of his efforts in upgrading the county's trash system, which included additional fencing as well as monitoring some of the sites.

Jones urged the board to conduct a non-biding referendum, by mail, on the issue. The referendum, he explained, would allow the board more time to study the issue while providing input from citizens.

He said he would like to see the referendum ask if residents would want to see their taxes raised three cents in order to maintain the current trash collection system.

Jones explained that he came up with the three-cent tax increase based on every one cent of the tax rate generating approximately $140,000 in additional revenue.

He offered, “So that wouldn't pay everything to take care of our trash but it would give us a real good hefty start so that we could maintain the status quo as it presently is.”

However, Supervisor Donnie Bryan said maintaining the current trash system would continue to allow people from other counties to dispose of their trash at the county's unfenced/satellite sites.

“What you are recommending is that you are going to increase my taxes as a taxpayer for me to still allow others to dump their trash in my county,” stated Bryan.

Bryan continued, “Leaving it status quo means leaving it just the way you have it right now.” He added, “You want the taxpayers in this county to increase their taxes, still dump their garbage in the ground, and still allow others not from this county to dump in our sites.”

Supervisor Cassandra Stish recalled that last month they talked about the possibility of closing the satellite sites, keeping the full-time employees, vehicles, and dumpsters, and hauling the trash to Van der Linde's facility.

County Administrator Rebecca Carter offered that they could take a baby-step approach by consolidating some sites and carrying trash from 655 and Arvonia to Van der Linde for recycling. Trash from the other sites would go to the landfill in Prince Edward.

“That would be about 65 percent of our waste that we could send to recycling,” she stated. “But the board would have to work together toward the goal of five sites,” stated Carter.

Agreeing with Carter, Stish shared that she is concerned about “going whole hog” with the Van der Linde proposal.

Stish added, “There was some concern about the prices for tonnage down the road if we have a fixed price or if we are going to end-up on the short end of the stick.”

Carter shared, “It would give us more time to work with them about options in the future.”

Bryan added, “We would see how much is being dumped from outside the county, too.”

Supervisor Bill Talbert said he did not feel there would be much opposition to closing the satellite site in Andersonville. However, he explained that he did not think it was necessary to close the site at Bates Market on Route 15. He added that trash disposal is one of the few benefits that taxpayers are receiving from the county.

According to Talbert, illegal dumping at the Bates Market site could be stopped if somebody sat there about three nights and issued tickets that would result in the judge fining the offenders $500 to $1,000.

Talbert said he could not ask the people in his district who live in Crumptown to drive 15 miles one-way to the site on Route 600 to dump their trash. “It's going to cost them around eight or nine dollars in gasoline to go there and back,” he stated. “I don't think you can ask the public to do that.”

Stish responded, “I drive that far.”

Bryan reminded that the owner of the land for the satellite site on Route 617 has asked that the site be closed.

Supervisor John Staton reiterated that unless they closed all the satellite sites, the county would not be able to ascertain the tonnage that results from the unauthorized dumping.

Responding, Supervisor Joe Chambers shared that he wouldn't mind discussing closing the Route 657 satellite site if the county would agree to keep the fenced site on 655 open on Thursdays. He offered, “I'm open for that negotiation.”

If the satellite sites are closed, Bryan suggested the county do a study based on the flow of traffic at the five-fenced sites to determine what hours each of those sites should be open for the most effective use of personnel monitoring the sites.

Reiterating that District 5, which includes the Wrights and Glenmore precincts, does not have any solid waste sites, Stish stressed that people in her district drive around 12 miles to dispose of their trash.

She added that she understood closing the satellite sites would be a change and a hardship for a few people but no more of a hardship than it currently is on people in her district and other areas that are driving similar distances.

“We keep saying we want a green county,” stated Bryan. “We want to make the county more attractive to people. You can't make the county attractive when you have dumpsters right off the main highway and you've got people that can't hit a dumpster as big as it is.” He added, “I've been by Bates and seen people dumping there from other counties.”

As the discussion continued, Chairman Snoddy interjected, “I think we've had enough discussion.” He suggested sending the issue back to the solid waste committee.

However, Bryan reminded that last month Talbert said he would have no problem with having a public hearing in January.

Responding, Talbert stated that he would go along with holding a hearing and added that he knew it would result in a filled auditorium.

Subsequently, Bryan moved to set a public hearing to gather input on the solid waste issue at the board's January 14 meeting.


Kevin Wright, VDOT Residency Administrator, introduced Scott Shippee, the new assistant residency administrator for the Dillwyn residency. Wright said Shippee would be reporting to the board on a regular basis.

In turn, Shippee provided several updates beginning with the news about the completion of Rural Rustic projects for Routes 697 and 639.

“They actually came in under budget,” shared Shippee, adding that the leftover funds would be used for future Rural Rustic projects. He added that the Rural Rustic project for Route 700 is scheduled to be underway in the spring.

Shippee noted that a separate project, involving Route 700 at its intersection with Route 20, is under design and scheduled to be advertised in late February.

He stated, “It is anticipated that the contractor will close that intersection, 700 and Route 20, for approximately 30 days sometime probably in mid to late June after school is out so that they can complete that construction.”

Continuing, Shippee reported that VDOT is finalizing plans and property impacts on the Route 631 and Route 20 intersection project. “The public hearing for that is scheduled for (Monday) January 7 at the Ag Center from 4 to 6 p.m.”

According to Shippee, in conjunction with that hearing, VDOT personnel will set-up displays related to the project. Additionally, he said the public would have an opportunity to talk to the designers and submit their comments on the project.

He reported that beginning on January 2, Route 612, Chestnut Grove Church Road, at the Appomattox River, would be closed to thru-traffic for approximately ten weeks for the replacement of the bridge deck superstructure.

Likewise, a bridge replacement is slated for Route 622, Johnson Station Road, at Hunters Creek. Shippee said that closure will begin on January 7 and will be in effect for approximately 12 weeks.

Supervisor Talbert advised that VDOT received credit for work on Routes 638 and 636 it didn't do. He explained that he was responsible for cutting back the cedar trees that were blocking visibility along sections of those roads. “It helped and might have saved somebody's life because you couldn't see,” he added.

Expressing safety concerns about two large broken limbs hanging over Bell Road off Route 15, Supervisor Donnie Bryan requested VDOT take care of that possible hazard.

Supervisor Staton complimented VDOT employees for the mowing along Route 659. He also advised that there was a problem with mud on Route 658 at Bookers Bottom.

Shifting to the subject of authorizing the use of golf carts on specified roads, Supervisor Stish asked if VDOT representatives would meet with the vice president of operations for Yogaville and a representative of the Yogaville Association to coordinate the golf cart crossings in various points in the Yogaville Community over to the Ashram.

Wright, explaining that crossings are allowed by the Code of Virginia in certain areas, said they would look into whether the crossing areas would be allowed according to code or if they would need to go through the county's ordinance process.

Stish requested that VDOT also assess the area for general safety improvements while they were looking at the crossings.

Supervisor Chambers said he would like to add Route 722 to the county's golf cart ordinance. He suggested Thomas Bradshaw as the contact person for that VDOT review.