Republic remains silent on landfill agreement

Published 1:46 pm Thursday, March 2, 2017

Republic Services continues to remain silent on its community host agreement with Cumberland County — one that was agreed to several years ago with prospects of building a landfill.

Jennifer Eldridge — a Republic Services spokeswoman — said Wednesday she had been attempting to reach out to the “local representative” but has been unable to contact him.

The Herald has been attempting to interview Republic Services for more than three weeks to discuss the future of the now defunct landfill.

“(I can try to) talk to him during our meeting today to see if I can connect to him and then give you a call back this week,” Eldridge told The Herald on Wednesday. “Sorry. I’m not trying to give you the runaround at all, it’s crazy trying to connect with our local teams so that I can get some more information for you.”

In 2006, Republic entered a 20-year host community agreement with Cumberland, allowing the firm to construct the landfill within the county. The project area is roughly 1,200 square acres, with approximately 215 acres planned for the disposal area, according to a frequently-asked-questions document on the county’s website.

Kevin Ingle

Kevin Ingle

The agreement includes annual payments of $500,000 from the firm to the county and a $2.5 million payment as a liquidated damages fee if the company desires to terminate the host community agreement.

At the Feb. 14 Cumberland County Board of Supervisors’ meeting, resident Barbara Hinton spoke regarding her concern for the lack of information the county was providing on the landfill.

“Cumberland County has not kicked the landfill out,” District Three Supervisor and Board Chairman Kevin Ingle said in a previous interview. “We have not done away with their business. We have not told them they can’t operate. Everyone is looking at us saying we’ve run (Republic) off. We have not run them off. The land and the host agreement is still there. Their decisions, as far as whether they want to be here or not, is totally up to them … Their decisions are what’s on the table, not ours. That’s the reason why we don’t have anything to comment on, because we don’t know what the decisions are going to be.”

In February, supervisors met in closed session at the end of their regular meeting regarding the landfill — as they have done numerous times in the past. According to County Administrator and Attorney Vivian Seay Giles, no action was taken as a result of closed session — another frequent result regarding closed-door sessions focusing on the contract, referred to as the community host agreement.

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

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.

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.