County set to begin landfill expansion

Published 12:18 pm Friday, April 26, 2013

Decatur County will soon begin a 5.5-acre expansion at its landfill.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Decatur County Board of Commissioners, County Administrator Gary Breedlove recommended the county immediately begin building “Cell No. 4” at the Decatur County Solid Waste Facility, located off U.S. Highway 84 South near Attapulgus.

The cell will cover 5.5 acres, which is slightly smaller than the three existing cells — those cells are each 7.4 acres. Breedlove explained that the new cell construction needs to begin quickly because capacity is rapidly filling up at the landfill.

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“We are marketing that landfill in order to improve our revenue situation,” he said. “Those marketing efforts are bearing fruit. We need to make sure that when they start bringing the fruit, we have baskets to put it in, like Cell No. 4.”

Breedlove said county public works employees and county inmates can do the labor for the project at a much cheaper cost than if it had been contracted out. Breedlove said it will cost about $600,000 to $700,000 to complete it with county labor, and would have cost $1 million to $1.2 million if it was done with contracted labor.

Breedlove also said that Billy Leverette will serve as the supervisor for the cell construction. Leverette, a former county roads superintendent, supervised the construction of Cells No. 2 and No. 3 and the county’s landfill engineer recommended he supervise the building of Cell No. 4 as well.

Breedlove said Leverette will be paid at a rate of $45 per hour, with a 20-hour work week in the construction’s early stages. That work week will increase to 30 hours when construction ramps up later in the process.

“I don’t think there’s an individual in this county who has moved as much dirt [as Billy Leverette],” Breedlove said.

Commissioner Oliver Sellers said he was concerned that the process was not bidded out to see if other local supervisors could have done the job.

“I’m not sure that he’s the only one in Decatur County who knows how to do this,” he said. “We’ve got plenty of engineers in this county that could probably do the same thing. Did they have a chance to make an offer?”

Breedlove said that the supervisor position was not put out for bid, because Leverette had done the job well in previous landfill cell constructions.

Earlier in the meeting, Sellers also said he was worried Leverette might not report his work hours accurately. Breedlove said that Assistant Public Works Director Andy Oliver would make sure that Leverette worked the hours he reported.

Sellers said that he believed that, in the past, Leverette had been “drinking coffee at Hardee’s while on the clock.”

“We’ve had those very specific discussions,” Breedlove said. “He’s aware of it … That’s one reason we converted to an hourly pay as opposed to salary.”

Sellers again repeated his concern about re-hiring Leverette.

“I would not have a problem with it, if I knew 100 percent that we could control him,” he said.

The board voted 4-2 to immediately begin construction, with Leverette as supervisor. Sellers and Commissioner Dr. David C. “Butch” Mosely voted against the motion.

“I’m not opposed to Mr. Leverette, I’m opposed to the process,” Mosely said.