Move Is Expected
To Save County
$350,000 Or More
During Each Year
BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
A new contract with Waste Industries of Morristown could save the county an estimated $350,000 or more per year following a vote by the Greene County Commission on Monday.
The Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen had previously delayed action on the matter until hearing from the County Commission.
Greeneville serves as fiscal agent in the joint venture of the Greeneville-Greene County Transfer Station and Landfill.
Greeneville Board gave approval of the contract change during their meeting on Tuesday.
Currently, the county hauls garbage to the transfer station from various convenience centers in the county.
The county and town then use equipment and trucks that are jointly owned to haul the garbage to the Waste Industries site in Morristown.
Under the new contract, County Attorney Roger Woolsey said that Waste Industries will take over operation and liability of the transfer station and landfill.
Based on the county's current tonnage, the new contractual cost will be $17 per ton. Woolsey said that this will be a $13 per ton savings from the cost associated with running the landfill and station as a joint venture.
Woolsey also praised the change as an opportunity to lessen the county's risk associated with operation of such heavy equipment. Waste Industries will take on all future liability effective Oct. 1, he explained.
County Mayor Alan Broyles also praised the contract because of the clause allowing the county to haul garbage from sites closer to the Morristown station (such as the McDonald convenience center) directly to Morristown without using the transfer station or its higher tonnage fee.
In such instances, the county would only pay the landfill charge and not the transfer charge, since the county, and not Waste Industries, would be transferring the garbage, Broyles said.
"It appears to be a win-win situation," Woolsey agreed.
The commission voted unanimously to approve the six-year contract, with Commissioner Anthony Sauceman, a Greene County Solid Waste employee, abstaining from the vote.
The commission also approved a change in contract regarding a Fast Track Infrastructure Development Program Grant in which they authorized Broyles to manage agreements regarding water infrastructure improvements at US Nitrogen.
The commission previously approved an application to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's (TDEC) program for such improvements to assist the company. Funding was approved at $923,000, according to the resolution.
However, it is now apparently necessary for Greene County to "own certain real property to facilitate the construction of a water tank along with the service lines and connections necessary for the operations."
CHANGE IN SCOPE
Broyles explained that this change is because of a change in the scope of the project.
Old Knox Utility District will no longer be the source of water for the company's cooling operations, as originally planned. Instead, the company will investigate pulling the needed water from Lick Creek.
US Nitrogen Project Manager Justin Freeark explained that the drinking water from the utility contains high enough levels of copper and zinc that, after 30 percent of the water is evaporated in the cooling process at US Nitrogen, the level of copper and zinc would exceed the effluent limits that would permit it to return to the Lick Creek Treatment Plant.
The better option currently appears to be for the company to pull the water directly from Lick Creek, he said.
He noted that the company has presented three options related to this proposal to the Tennessee Department of Energy and Conservation for approval.
Commissioner John Waddle, who operates the North Greene Utility District, questioned Freeark regarding the project, including the amount of water they will draw from the creek, as well as the size and length of the water line they will use.
Freeark said that the company will draw between 125,000 and 135,000 gallons of water per day. The line will be 12 or 14 inches, he added.
Waddle questioned Freeark heavily on this matter, saying that a four-inch line would be sufficient for that amount of water and that such a larger line will make pumping difficult.
(In a later interview, Freeark corrected his math, noting that he had been prepared for legal, not technical, questions and had calculated incorrectly when doing the math without a calculator. The correct peak draw will be 1.25 million gallons per day, he said.
(This is within the 1.52-million gallon daily total TDEC has said the company could draw from Lick Creek, he added.)
The conversation concluded on Monday with Broyles telling Waddle that the size of the water line "is going to be their decision."
"Yeah, and I've got one tonight," Waddle responded.
He was the only commissioner to vote against the resolution. Commissioner Robin Quillen abstained, while 19 others voted in favor of the authorization.
Broyles emphasized that the change to the agreements will only occur "provided that any costs associated with the overall project, any applicable contracts, agreements or financial obligations are at the expense of US Nitrogen."
There will be no cost to the county, he said.
In final business, the commission unanimously gave its approval for the remainder of the county road bond funds ($829,000) to be transferred into the Highway Department's asphalt plant operations.
Also receiving unanimous approval was the appointment of Earl Fletcher as county historian. Fletcher is the director of the Nathanael Greene Museum.
The commission also approved committee appointments and voted 20-1 to reappoint Broyles as chairman. Tim White was the only opposing vote.
Three commissioners were nominated for chairman-pro-tem: Robert Bird, David Crum and Nathan Holt.
In the first roll call vote, Bird received eight votes, Crum received six votes and Holt received three.
After additional votes in which Bird remained in the lead but just short of a majority, Commissioner David Crum withdrew his name from the selection and cast his vote for Bird, who was elected.
Finally, the commission signed proclamations recognizing National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the 103rd anniversary of the founding of Pruitt Hill United Methodist Church.