Solid waste negotiations to resume for Lewisburg

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lewisburg will soon be negotiating again with the company it hired last year for household trash collection services.

The issue arose as city councilmen discussed the next budget for the city. It starts July 1. A final vote on the budget is set for 4 p.m. Monday.

"We'll be back in negotiations (with Allied Waste) within 30 days," Mayor Barbara Woods advised councilmen during a budget workshop two weeks ago.

About a year ago, Allied Waste started collecting trash in Lewisburg and elsewhere in Marshall County as Waste Management continued in its attempts to expand Cedar Ridge Landfill.

Meanwhile, Councilman Odie Whitehead Jr. was curious about recycling.

"Is the market down for recycling?" Whitehead asked.

Referring to a county report, Woods explained some circumstances surrounding Whitehead's question.

Market prices for recyclable materials have an indirect effect on city revenue and spending.

Curbside recycling in Lewisburg is a joint effort of the county's Solid Waste Department, led by Morgan Thomas, and the city Public Works. Since Waste Management Inc. stopped receiving trash deliveries at its Cedar Ridge Landfill just west of Lewisburg, the company's payment of host fees have dropped to zero because they're based on tons of trash buried in the landfill. It's closed as the company awaits a decision on its appeal to a state decision denying expansion of the facility.

At one time, Cedar Ridge was a significant revenue stream to the county's Solid Waste Department and the landfill provided a nearby repository for the city's trash collections. Because of uncertainty on whether the landfill could expand, or would have to close, the city hired Allied Waste.

It's been almost one year since city employees stopped collecting trash and when Allied Waste trucks started their routes in town.

"For the first five months of 2011... Lewisburg ... recycled 172.09 tons, or 34.5 tons per month on average," Thomas wrote to the city on June 3. "This is slightly higher than last year's average."

Recyclable materials are sold, but the value is enhanced when plastic, paper and metal are separated, the solid waste director said. Revenue generated by recycling is used exclusively for recycling.

"The city benefits by savings in disposal fees" paid for disposal of trash, Thomas said. "If the tons ... were not recycled, the city would have to pay for disposal."