Elizabethton City Council votes to end relationship with Iris Glen Landfill

John Thompson • Jul 11, 2019 at 10:13 PM

ELIZABETHTON — The Elizabethton City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to stop using the Iris Glen Landfill in Johnson City to deposit all the city’s solid waste collection and instead use the Transfer Station in the Carter County Landfill.

The city has been averaging over 10,000 tons of garbage for a year and has been with Iris Glen for many years. The change came about because the city’s contract with Iris Glen expired this year. The city accepted bids to handle the city’s waste in the future, but only two bids were received: from Waste Management, the owner of Iris Glen; and from the Carter County Landfill.

The contact is for five years, with an option for five more years. Based on the bids, Iris Glen was the cheapest for the first five years, being .27 cents cheaper per ton than the Carter County Landfill’s bid. But the county’s offer over the last five years was much more attractive. Adding those five years to the first five years meant the county’s bid was $3.72 per ton cheaper over the entire 10 years.

City staff said that would save the county $352,843.50 over the 10 years. That is based on $34.25 per ton and disposing of 10,302 tons of solid waste each year.

City Manager Daniel Estes and Mayor Curt Alexander also discussed other savings with the city’s street and sanitation manager, Danny Hilbert. They said the shorter distance to the Carter County Landfill represented savings in fuel costs and maintenance costs. Estes said with the drop off of the last load at the end of the day, it was a much shorter distance to the city garage from the Carter County Landfill than from Iris Glen.

The new relationship with the Carter County Landfill is not complete yet. The Carter County Commission must approve the new contract at its next meeting Monday. Its Budget Committee has already voted to recommend its approval and also will recommend several expenditures to handle the additional 10,000 tons per year.

City Council also approved of four new positions. These include a director for the new Main Street program, a system engineer for the Electric Department, a field data collection technician for the Water Department and a substation/meter tech apprentice for the Electric Department.

The council also approved the release of 2019-2020 funds for the outside agencies that were approved in this year’s budget process, with one exception. The Council voted to hold the funding for the American Red Cross until after a discussion on future plans for that organization. That move came because Councilman Richard Barker said he had noticed a news story about the closing of the Johnson City office of the Red Cross.

The council also gave authorization to Estes to negotiate a contract for the purchase of the building adjacent to the Elizabethton Police Department headquarters. The building had until recently been the dental clinic of Dr. George Zodrawski.

The vote was not an indication that the City Council plans to acquire the building as part of the expansion of the police headquarters. The negotiation is to get a firm price to be used in making determinations among several other alternatives and answer the question of which would be the most cost-effective way to expand the police department.

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