County prepares to fund its own transfer station

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Marshall County Commission has taken another step toward borrowing up to $2 million for a trash transfer station and related spending if Cedar Ridge Landfill must close within a year.

Commissioners have emphasized that no additional debt load has been taken on, nor has a particular method of borrowing been selected because of uncertainties in the money market and the lack of a decision by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

Waste Management Inc. has asked TDEC to issue a new permit for disposal of garbage at the landfill west of Lewisburg. The current permit does not include the area that's been dubbed Cell 7.

The last licensed cell at Cedar Ridge has been approaching capacity and without the requested permit the facility could be full next year, thereby starting a closure plan.

That would also leave Marshall County residents without a nearby repository for trash which generates host fees that fund the county's Slid Waste Department and the convenience centers where rural residents may take their household trash.

While the life expectancy of any landfill depends on the rate of deliveries, Waste Management officials have said thatif TDEC grants the requested permit, then the landfill could be in operation for at least five more years.

As a result, the county's Solid Waste Committee and the Budget Committee recommended a "resolution authorizing the county to secure funding for a solid waste transfer station in the event that Waste Management Inc. does not get Cell 7 through the state permitting procedures."

The resolution puts the county in a position to borrow money, but Commissioner Don Ledford, chairman of the Solid Waste Committee emphasized, "In order for us to spend it, it must come back to this body" of commissioners who met Monday night in the Courthouse Annex.

An exact figure is not available, but the estimated amount is $2 million, according to discussion among commissioners.

Freda Terry, director of accounts and budgets advised Commission Chairwoman Mary Ann Neill that the county would be ready to borrow in about 3-6 months.

Terry responded to Commissioner Seth Warf's question on how many avenues of funding are available by saying, "At least three."

They include bonds, bank notes and possibly money from a revolving fund.

No interest will be paid on the money until the project begins, Ledford said.

Warf asked what would happen if the state approves Waste Management's request for Cell 7 and Neill replied, "Cell 7 is a temporary fix. We'll still need something" after that expansion is full.

The resolution to proceed toward borrowing money for a transfer station was approved 18-0.