County hires two firms

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Marshall County Commission voted Monday to approve two contracts: One to be ready if and when Cedar Ridge Landfill closes, and; Another for construction of an ambulance station in Chapel Hill.

Both contracts came under close examination as reflected in comments from commissioners, including Seth Warf who said he was concerned about county spending during a time of economic hardship in the country.

Construction of the ambulance station is to cost nearly $298,000 and it's being built by J.R. Warren Contractor of Shelbyville, the business that emerged from competitive bidding and negotiations to lower the cost.

Shingles will be used instead of a metal roof, according to Commissioner Jimmy Stitt. Closets were removed. There were electrical changes and County Building Inspector Don Nelson will monitor construction instead of the architect.

An original alternative included an emergency power generator. It won't be installed.

One bid of nearly $500,000 was among the final bids considered.

While the contract is being awarded by the county, $125,000 of the cost is coming from Chapel Hill, Commissioner Seth Warf said. Furthermore, the town is providing tap fees for the ambulance station to be located near Chapel Hill Elementary School.

"The town and the county are working together on this," Warf said.

"And," Commissioner Jimmy Wolaver said, "they confirmed that the $125,000 is in the bank."

The vote to award the contract was 15-2 with Commissioner Richard Medley abstaining. He's a shift captain for the Marshall County Emergency Medical Service.

The vote to hire Griggs & Maloney Environmental Engineers in Murfreesboro for a solid waste plan was 11-7.

The contract totals $40,640 and includes $7,640 for water testing at various places around Cedar Ridge Landfill where residents have expressed concern about pollution. It's a controversial issue and Waste Management Inc., the company operating the landfill says it's not polluting drinking water sources.

Waste Management is asking the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for permission to use 11 acres of its property t landfill garbage where that's not been allowed yet.

Those 11 acres are almost completely surrounded by large mounds of buried trash. The state has decided to permit the closure of a stream on the property thereby indicating significant awareness of the company's plan to plug and cover a sinkhole over which trash would be buried.

That plan, if allowed to proceed would give the landfill seven to eight more years of space, depending on deliveries. Thereafter, a closure plan could be used for the landfill.

That eventuality is what the Griggs & Maloney contract is to address.

The Murfreesboro company was selected after commissioners on the county's Solid Waste Committee analyzed proposals from several engineering firms.

Warf asked if Solid Waste Director Morgan Thomas could provide the same planning service. Commissioner Don Ledford, chairman of the Solid Waste Committee, replied that he could, but that Thomas is the departments administrator and while he deals with several issues directly related to solid waste, his assignments are already significant.

Thomas said, "I could probably do it, but it takes time. I have a great deal of knowledge about solid waste in Marshall County, but the consultants bring in knowledges of areas that I don't know about."

Thomas has also found a laboratory to test water samples for less than the consultant's price.

"This project involves no tax dollars," Ledford said.

The Solid Waste Department is funded by host fees paid by Waste Management and they can be used only on solid waste-related expenditures, as much as commissioners might want to use them on schools and the Sheriff's Department, Ledford said.

By hiring a consultant, Ledford said, "I believe we can find that we can save money over the long run."

Commissioner Wilford "Spider" Wentzel agreed, quoting Benjamin Franklin: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Commissioner Mickey King endorsed the contract, saying it will result in a plan for trash disposal all across the county.