11/09/04 — Duplin group concerned about trash contract

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Duplin group concerned about trash contract

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on November 9, 2004 1:57 PM

FAISON -- An environmental group will ask the Duplin County commissioners Monday why they voted earlier this month to pursue a 10-year contract with Waste Industries for landfill space.

The county commissioners voted last week to not build a landfill and to continue paying Waste Industries to allow dumping at the Sampson County landfill.

Citizens for a Safe Environment's chairman, Deborah Kornegay, will speak Monday at 9 a.m. at the commissioners meeting.

If the county signs a contract, Mrs. Kornegay said, she is concerned that when the landfill in Sampson County runs out of room, Waste Industries will again push the issue of building a regional landfill in Duplin County.

"We've worked for over four years in good faith thinking commissioners would do what they said they'd do," she said.

Now, it's about the "almighty dollar," said Frances Park, co-chairman.

L.S. Guy, the only commissioner who voted against pursuing the contract, joined the 14 members of Citizens for a Safe Environment on Monday at the Faison Methodist Church. They thanked him for voting against contracting. They asked him if the commissioners' action opened the door for Waste Industries to build a landfill in Duplin County.

"I believe the effort to keep a regional landfill out of Duplin County took a setback," he said. But he said the vote was not to abandon plans to build a county-run landfill. He said the vote was to not pursue the five sites that a consultant had been studying.

The consultant told commissioners on Nov. 1 that it was not feasible to build a county-run landfill, because there was not enough waste under the county's control to make it cost-effective. The waste stream is growing in Duplin County, he said, but most of it is under control of private haulers and municipalities.

"We did not close the door Monday on a Duplin County landfill," he said. "We closed the door on the five sites."

Guy said the county manager is expecting a counter-proposal to arrive from Waste Industries. He acknowledged that the county knew three months ago that the consultant didn't think a county-run landfill would be feasible. But the consultant didn't bring the matter before the board until the day before the general election.

"There's something about that timing," said Mrs. Kornegay. "I had already gone and voted."