BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
The Greene County Solid Waste Committee voted unanimously on Monday to approve action by the Greeneville-Greene County Regional Solid Waste Advisory Board earlier this month in support of closing the transfer station at the Greeneville-Greene County Landfill.
The ultimate decision concerning the change is jointly in the hands of County Mayor Alan Broyles and Greeneville Mayor W.T. Daniels.
But the two mayors took before the advisory board -- for a vote of support -- the idea of hauling garbage directly to TIDI Waste rather than to the transfer station.
That committee's vote was unanimous.
"We want to have your all's input," Broyles told the committee on Monday. "We wouldn't make the decision ourselves."
While the change will not affect the demolition landfill itself as a disposal site for local industries, Broyles told the committee that he hopes to see the change bring a savings and put an end to an ongoing deficit at the transfer site.
"We're actually going in the hole about $500,000 a year," he said. "We can't keep on digging ourselves a deeper hole, and our solid waste trucks are wearing out. Something's going to have to be done if we continue on like we are."
Currently, Greene County, Greeneville and the City of Tusculum haul household garbage to the transfer station (located on Old Stage Road) for a tipping fee cost of $36.64 per ton.
Broyles and Solid Waste Director Hubert Metcalfe estimated that, if the transfer station operation is to break even, the tipping fee would need to increase to something closer to $44 to $46 per ton: an increase which would have equaled at least an additional $140,000 annually from the county.
In order for the county to be able to haul the household garbage directly from the county's 17 convenience center sites to the Morristown TIDI Waste site, Broyles said, it would be necessary for the county to purchase more roll-off trucks and compactors for the convenience center sites.
The cost would be a total of $960,000, which would come from the Regional Solid Waste fund balance.
This would include:
* $600,000 for four roll-off trucks;
* $273,000 for 15 compactors; and,
* $90,000 for two wagons.
Metcalfe reported that making the change would double the cost of fuel, tires and maintenance, as well as add another employee to his budget.
But even after these expenses, he said, the change should still result in an estimated $240,000 in annual savings.
He estimated that the county's new tipping fee and hauling cost would be $30.20 per ton.
"There will be savings," Metcalfe emphasized. "Even if I had to hire two people, I could haul it cheaper [to Morristown than to the transfer station]."
Commissioner John Carter, who is a member of both the Greeneville-Greene County Regional Solid Waste Advisory Board and the County Solid Waste Committee, strongly praised the proposed change.
Carter called it "silly" to transfer waste to the station, and he noted a long "wish list" of capital improvements for the station that had been presented to the advisory board.
Broyles also noted that the county's front-loader trucks are mostly in bad repair and are far more expensive than the roll-off trucks.
Compactors are also more efficient, resulting in savings, he said.
Metcalfe said he currently has three front-loaders that he estimated will last another three to four years.
All three will be necessary because two will still be needed to pick up and haul garbage for businesses and schools and another will be needed for recycling, he said.
The committee unanimously voted to support the advisory board's recommendation for closing the center following a motion by Commissioner Robert Bird.