03/07/06 — Duplin approves transfer station

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Duplin approves transfer station

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 7, 2006 1:55 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Duplin County commissioners voted 5 to 1 Monday to authorize the chairman to sign a contract with D.S. Simmons of Goldsboro to build a new solid waste transfer station near Rose Hill.

Engineers have warned the county that the ground is giving way under the 14-year-old transfer station, which was built as a temporary measure and was expected to last only eight years.

The board had already awarded the bid in February, and had authorized the contract to be drawn up.

When the proposal was presented Monday, Commission-er Reginald Wells of Rose Hill moved to authorize the chairman to sign the contract. Commissioner Larry Howard of Mount Olive seconded the motion.

Commissioner David Fussell of Wallace told the board if the county pays more than $500,000 for the job, it's too much. He moved to table the matter. The motion died for lack of a second.

The commission voted, with Fussell casting the sole negative vote.

The vote split again when the board awarded the $60,000 contract to oversee the project to Municipal Engineers.

It will take about six months to build the transfer station, Solid Waste director Bee Barnette said. He said the finish date will probably be in September.

He told the board he had the $2 million already budgeted for the new transfer station. The base bid was $1.9 million. Barnette said state officials want the county to build a paved road to the new station, and D.S. Simmons submitted a $71,000 alternate bid for that job. The designer of the project, Municipal Engineering, included a 5 percent contingency of about $99,000.

"Paying $200 per square foot on a metal building is absolutely unconscionable," Fussell said. He said by not finding a cheaper way to build the transfer station, the county commissioners were not being good stewards of the taxpayers' money.

"We're taking money from the people and literally throwing it away," he said.

L.S. Guy asked Barnette why he felt the $2 million design was the best option among several that were considered.

The transfer station will be an industrial building, Barnette said. The life of the transfer station will be 30 to 40 years, with plenty of room for expansion.

He said the county is handling the garbage now, but not well.

"This will be a proper way to handle it, and safe," he said. "It's the safest building I've seen designed. It keeps the public out of the building."

That is vital because of the truck traffic in the vicinity, Barnette said.

"It's a good place to get run over," he said.

Commissioners did not address Fussell's concerns about the $500,000 cost or his proposals to lower the bill for the new building. During a break, Fussell passed out a copy of an e-mail he received from Ven Poole of Waste Industries.

The company has been pursuing a franchise to build a landfill on the Anderson family farm in northern Duplin County.

In the e-mail, Poole said he could save the county money.

"Just so you will know, in a couple of weeks, I plan to propose a turn-key system to completely privatize your system from the convenience sites to disposal that will cut your costs significantly," Poole wrote.

He offered to replace the transfer station "in the interim" and "take your trash for less than you are paying today to do it all yourself."

The e-mail said if Barnette's option costs "more than about $500,000, you would be paying too much. We handle 350 tons per day through a station that only costs us $400,000."