County commissioners given report on curbside contract
The Newton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) heard a report from Solid Waste Authority (SWA) chair Wayne Haynie concerning a possible hauling contract with Advance Disposal Services, Inc. during its regular meeting Tuesday, Jan. 17 at the Newton County Historic Courthouse.
The report laid out the process in which Advance Disposal Services (ADS) was chosen for curbside pickup, and why curbside pickup became a necessity in Newton County.
For years, residents of unincorporated Newton County could take their municipal solid waste to trash collection convenience centers spread throughout the county at no extra cost. However, those centers were costing the county $2 million a year due to maintenance, upkeep and the lack of revenue being generated from the trash disposed at the centers and not being paid for as it crossed the scales at the county landfill.
During the discussion of the 2017 fiscal year budget, county officials elected
not to raise taxes to pay for the solid waste shortfall but rather to charge convenience center users $50 for half the year and close the centers after that. That closure is set for June 30.
With that deadline in mind, the recently- reformed SWA set forth to find a solution to the county’s waste woes.
The first step in that solution was looking through a Request for Qualifications/Proposals (R
FQ/Ps) on several areas of the county’s waste
stream. According to Haynie around 30-40 companies participated in the bidding process, that was begun by the BOC in 2016.
Looking at the dozens of bid participants, the SWA decided to focus on the curbside pickup portion of the RFQ/Ps. The top bidder was ADS, which was the only company that included local haulers in its proposal. In a separate evaluation, the SWA also asked for pricing from the curbside pickup bidders.
“It just so happened that the highest-ranked firm (ADS) had the lowest prices,” Haynie said.
On Jan. 5, the SWA voted to go forward with signing a contract for ADS to become the county’s curbside hauler. Since that announcement many questions have been asked by citizens and other haulers. Answers to those questions can be found here. Even more questions were asked by the BOC Tuesday to Haynie.
In a lengthy information session, Commissioners asked Haynie about the bid process, the involvement of local haulers, the cost to the
taxpayers, what benefit it would be to the county and what level of authority the SWA has over the waste stream.
Many of the commissioners expressed their desire to keep the SWA running but several questioned the proposed contract.
“I don’t think we need a third-party vendor,” Ronnie Cowan, District 5 said. I think we can work with the local haulers and still achieve what we need to achieve.”
At the end of the presentation and question and answer session, the BOC moved to have a joint meeting with the SWA on Jan. 23 at the Newton County Historic Courthouse.
“I want to make sure we go through this open and transparent,” Newton County Chair Marcello Banes said.