Questions loom on contract

Published 1:53 pm Thursday, February 2, 2017

As questions loom about the future of property purchased over 10 years ago for a then-proposed landfill, Cumberland County Administrator and County Attorney Vivian Seay Giles is refusing to comment and answer questions regarding the agreement between the county and Republic Services.

When asked about what the site — now no longer planned to be used for a landfill — may house in the future, Giles refused comment, saying, “I’m not going to discuss this right now.”

Republic Services — a firm that provides “reliable and responsible recycling and waste disposal services” — didn’t respond to several requests for information from The Herald.

Kevin Ingle

Kevin Ingle

District Three Supervisor Kevin Ingle, who serves as chairman of the county’s board of supervisors, was unable to provide information.

“Right now they are not operating (it) as a landfill; that’s all I can tell you about the matter,” Ingle said, calling what The Herald requested “…privileged information I cannot share with you.”

The project area encompasses about 1,200 acres, with approximately 215 planned for a disposal area. The property is located in eastern Cumberland, according to a frequently-asked-question document on the county’s website.

The county entered into a 20-year host community agreement with Republic Services in 2006, allowing the firm to construct the landfill in the county.

The agreement included annual payments of $500,000 from the firm to the county.

Last year, District Five Supervisor Parker Wheeler said the county had received $3.3 million in payments from Republic.

Vivian Seay Giles

Vivian Seay Giles

The contract called for a $2.10 charge for each ton of trash Republic placed in the landfill to be paid quarterly to the county. The contract also included $2.5 million as a “liquidated damage fee if the company desires to terminate the host community agreement.”

In February 2015, the county reportedly accepted a $2.5 million payment from Republic “as part of the host community agreement.” Despite this, Giles told The Herald on Feb. 19, 2015, that Republic had not exited the agreement.

Officials previously estimated that, when fully operational, the landfill would have brought the county more than $100 million in revenue over several decades.

If Republic decides to terminate the contract, they must give the county 90 days’ notice and must pay the “liquidated damages fee” of $2.5 million.