Part of the agenda at the October 11 Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority special meeting was to hold a public meeting about the future of waste disposal in the county. Ed Riley, Solid Waste Authority Chairman, said that deciding the future of how the authority will operate once the landfill is filled and closed is difficult because they won’t know until the first of January when the Annual Report is completed, exactly how much time the current landfill has until it is full. He suggested it could possibly be only one to three years. Riley laid out three proposals to be considered by the Authority members. Riley said the purpose of discussing the three options at this meeting is to “whittle them down” to one scenario.
1. Operate a Transfer Station and keep the Green Box system operating as they do now. He said this would involve an initial setup of roughly $1,306,000 and an annual operating cost of about $1,242,857. Riley said this is the most expensive of the three options in both set-up and operation.
Riley asked if anyone was interested in pursuing this, and when none of the members spoke up, he eliminated this as an option.
2. Compactor sites only, which has an initial setup cost of about $1,008,000 and an annual operating cost of around $872,855. No member expressed an interest in supporting this proposal either, so Riley eliminated it from further consideration.
3. Green boxes only. Riley said this seems like the proposal they want to develop, but since the county may not be using this system for two years, he doesn’t have the figures for it, and wouldn’t want to put it out to bid until then, but he said they should start planning for it. They said this option involves picking up trash at the green boxes and hauling it to the Greenbrier County landfill.
Jacob Meck from Allegheny Disposal asked how a green box only system would take care of commercial trash.
Riley said, in his opinion, they would have to continue to take the appliances, etc., crush them with their compactor and haul them to the recycling place and sell them. He said we would have to also crush wooden items like beds. He said the authority would not be serving commercial haulers, such as towns, because that would requite a transfer station.
Meck responded and asked what if a resident remodeled their house, where would they dispose of their construction debris? Meck said green boxes don’t work out well with construction and demolition debris. He said if there is no other system to take care of it, that stuff will end up in the green boxes.
Meck suggested this green box only proposal would take a service away from the citizens.
“We are beyond providing a service to the county,” Riley said. “We have to operate as a business. And as a business there are certain things we can’t afford. And one of those is that we can’t take construction demolition materials (C&D) because they are big and bulky. We can’t do anything with them.”
Meck said, speaking as a citizen, these small construction demolition items will end up in our ditches and in our creeks if we don’t provide a way for citizens to dispose of them.
Authority Member David McLaughlin suggested that, since they want to keep the tire disposal operation, recycling white goods and other recycling, maybe they should revisit buying the landfill property, and maybe in the future put a small transfer station there or put a compactor there to do C&D. When another member said they tried unsuccessfully to buy it for a year, McLaughlin said they can get enough money from the County Commission to buy it, and it could be bought for $160,000, which includes the cost of fencing it.
Riley said that could be placed on the next meeting agenda and discussed in executive (closed) session. After the meeting, this reporter pointed out to Riley that while actual real estate negotiations can be held in executive session, the discussions leading up to deciding the need to buy a property are subject to the West Virginia Open Meetings Act, and must be held in public since those decisions directly affect the public.