Carter landfill gets $72,000 cash infusion after slow winter

John Thompson • Apr 5, 2014 at 8:22 AM

ELIZABETHTON — The Landfill Committee of the Carter County Commission voted unanimously Friday to request nearly $72,000 in a reserve fund be transferred to the landfill’s operating revenue.

Committee Chairman Joel Street said the transfer will require no new revenue. The reserve was set up in this year’s county budget to provide a cash infusion or for another emergency need and was used for that purpose last year.

Landfill operations are funded by the tipping fees collected at the scale house. Street said there is a persistent pattern of a slowdown during the winter months.

County Finance Director Ingrid Deloach said “ this is not a budget issue, this is a cash-flow issue.”

While revenues from tipping fees sustain the landfill during the warm-weather months, the colder-weather months discourage residents from cleaning up their property, and fewer trips are made to the landfill.

This year’s winter was even worse, committee member Charles Von Cannon said.

The Carter County facility also saw a significant decline in revenue when a new landfill opened in Blountville last year. The county’s two largest haulers were lured to the now landfill. Street said that while this led to a loss of revenues, expenses were also down because there was less solid waste to be hauled from the county transfer station.

The county is still hoping to obtain a large new customer in the city of Elizabethton. The city rejected all bids as too high on the first round of bidding and is now rebidding the contract.

The amount of cash on hand with which to conduct business dipped to just $10,000 during February and March of this year, Deloach said. That was dangerous with a monthly payroll of $8,000 and a haul bill from the transfer station around $7,000.

The reserve money was used last year to not only to provide an infusion in the cash flow, but also to install a new set of truck scales and repair a compactor.

This year’s reserves have already been used to provide a $3,600 local match for the $14,400 state recycling grant to purchase trash bins and containers. The remaining $72,000 of the reserve will be used not only to improve cash flow, but also to complete two projects: the paving of the ramp at the new truck scales at the landfill and the completion of the new convenience station at Butler/Elk Mills.

The cost of the ramp paving is estimated to be $10,000. The convenience station cost is estimated at $20,000.

The committee also discussed upcoming changes on old tire disposal in the state. Landfill Manager Benny Lyons recommended the county continue to participate with a five-county hub, which has been doing the work for nearly 20 years.

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