County looking for landfill customers

Published 3:15 pm Friday, June 29, 2012

Decatur County is actively seeking other municipalities to be customers for its landfill at the Solid Waste Facility on U.S. Highway 27 South.

Interim County Administrator Gary Breedlove told the Decatur County Board of Commissioners at Tuesday’s regular meeting that county officials are scheduled to meet with representatives from two Florida municipal governments next Tuesday. Breedlove said that negotiations are still in the early stages, but it may be possible for Decatur County’s landfill to soon accept solid waste from other nearby municipalities.

Breedlove said the prospective customers would likely create an additional 150,000 to 200,000 tons of refuse per year. Using an example fee of $25 per ton, that would mean annual revenues of $3.75 million to $5 million per year, to the county.

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“We would, of course, have to accelerate our cell development,” Breedlove said. “Steve Harbin, our [landfill] engineer, is working on some calculations of how that would impact us near-term and long-term, of using those ranges of increased volume.”

Breedlove said it costs the county $250,000 to build a new landfill cell at a slow “deliberate” rate, or $1.5 million at a more accelerated rate. The county currently has three cells already completed, and a fourth is under construction. A planned expansion at the landfill will increase its size from 29 acres to more than 75 acres, and increase its lifespan from six years to more than 39 years.

However, any additional demand from prospective customers will significantly impact that projected lifespan. The county currently owns 194.68 acres on the existing landfill site, and recently purchased another 768 acres to the west of the present site. That land could be used for additional expansion in the future.

Commissioner Oliver Sellers questioned whether a fee of $25 per ton was too low, but Breedlove explained that figure was just an example.

“We have not talked rates with them,” he said. “We have not talked about anything like that. We’re in the very early stages, and we want to make sure that they’re convinced this is a good idea for both sides.”

Sellers added that he hoped additional research would be done before setting any fees.

“I would call around to other landfills, to see what they charge, and stay a little under it to make us competitive,” he said. “Let’s just don’t give away our service, is what I’m saying.”