ELIZABETHTON — A self-described “new kid on the block” was the apparent low bidder to handle the county’s solid waste for as long as the next eight years.
Advance Disposal, which has opened the EcoSafe Landfill in Blountville, entered a bid of $18.20 per ton to haul the waste, with a transportation fee of $148. The bid price was slightly higher each following year until reaching a price of $23.14 per ton in 2022 and a transportation cost of $181.79.
Those bids were lower than the bid by the county’s current company, Allied Waste, of $18.50 for 2013 and a transportation cost of $203.30. Allied’s bid for 2022 was $24.21 and a transportation cost of $256.89.
Other firms that entered bids Thursday were Waste Management and Waste Industries.
The bids were opened during the monthly meeting of the Landfill Committee of the Carter County Commission. County Finance Director Ingrid Deloach was assigned the task for studying the bids and reporting back to the committee Wednesday morning.
“We are standing to save a great deal of money,” Chairman Joel Street said. “It’s my thought that we will go with the lowest bid, if everything stacks up.”
If the low bid is awarded the contract, it would mark a major change in the way the county has conducted its solid waste business since the landfill owned jointly by the county and the city of Elizabethton closed 20 years ago. Since that time, the county has had a partnership with Allied Waste.
Scott Barrett of Allied Waste was on hand for the bid opening and reminded the committee of the long partnership and other benefits the county receives from the company. Barrett said Allied not only has hauled the waste from the county’s transfer station, but the company is also the biggest customer, using the transfer station to offload its garbage trucks rather than going all the way to its landfill. He said Allied’s operations return about $90,000 a year to the county. “Its a great partnership,” he said.
In other matters, Deloach told the committee that even though the landfill remains within its budget, there are cash flow problems. The landfill operates on revenues it receives from its disposal operations and those revenues have been down recently. That has led to a temporary halt in the construction of the new convenience station at Little Milligan.
The project to install new truck scales at the landfill is continuing. Landfill Manager Benny Lyons said the old scales are faulty and registering weights that are many pounds below the actual amount. As a result of the inaccurate scales, the county is losing an unknown amount of revenue.
A team from Central Scales was at the landfill Thursday afternoon to calibrate a set of temporary scales that will be used while Central installs a permanent set of scales over the next several weeks.
At the close of Thursday’s meeting, committee member Ken Arney praised Lyons. “He has done an exceptional job,” Arney said. “He has turned the landfill around.” Arney said the County Commission had to provide cash funds to keep the landfill afloat in past years, but Lyons is making the facility work on the revenues it receives.