Friday, July 31, 2015

Poor Landfill Deal

In the early 1990’s Gloucester’s elected leaders and paid staff made the decision to open a landfill that would receive trash from numerous localities including some in other states. Those leaders and staff made a deal with Waste Management of Virginia to allow them to operate the new landfill for 20 years under a self extending contract based on the landfill’s remaining capacity. At that time Gloucester taxpayers completely funded the ever rising costs to operate the old county landfill, so the picture painted for the taxpayers back then and even today is one of not having to raise taxes to fund trash disposal. Such service does have significant value to the taxpayers, but the questions is; did the leaders and staff back then make a good deal? Information on contracts of similar landfill operations in neighboring communities obtained under FOIA suggests a very poor deal was made on behalf of Gloucester taxpayers. The following are just a few examples of how bad the deal is.
Gloucester’s deal included monthly payments to the County of $.50 per ton for all waste received from outside of Gloucester. That rate has grown to a whopping $.83 in 23 years. Other Counties are getting $2.00 to $10.00 per ton. Gloucester receives no royalties from electricity generated by the abundantly growing and long term supply of methane gas produced from trash decomposition. Other neighboring Counties are getting a royalty of 10% of all gross profits from the sale of such electricity. Other Counties are getting 25% of net profits derived from recycling.Gloucester gets nothing. The loss to Gloucester taxpayers in these areas annually is likely over a million dollars.
Currently some of our elected leaders and paid staff assert thatGloucester’s benefit from the landfill deal comes from the trash convenience centers and being able to dispose of trash for free. They claim any increase in tonnage fees and such being paid to the County will result in Gloucester residents paying for trash disposal. This does not appear to stand up under scrutiny, as the other counties that made better deals have as many or more convenience centers and are also able to dispose of trash for free. Again, these are just a few examples of how badGloucester’s landfill deal is. Our elected leaders should seriously consider bringing Waste Management back to the negotiation table and work out a better deal. Increased revenue from the landfill could be used to build a couple of new libraries so the County stops wasting over a quarter million dollars every year to rent two libraries. There are many things that can be accomplished with increased revenue from the landfill and savings derived from owning our own libraries instead of leasing them.

Convenience Centers
Sussex County has 7 plus 1 at landfill
Amelia County has 6 plus 1 at landfill.
Charles City County has 2 plus 1 at landfill.
City of Hampton has 1 in Newport News.
Gloucester County has 4 plus 1 at landfill.
Amelia County receives 25% of net profits.
Charles City County receives payment to cover expenses of recycling
                                 program not performed by Waste Management.
Gas Generation
Amelia County gets a royalty equal to 10% of the gross revenue from
                         any sale.
Charles City County gets a royalty equal to 10% of the gross revenue
                                 from any sale.
Inspections and Sampling
Amelia County gets $120,000 annually
Charles City County has $225,000 fund established and replenished
                                 annually by Waste management.
Gloucester County gets $77,087 annually.
City of Hampton made $1.6 million in 2014.
Charles City County plans on $1.3 to $1.5 million annually.
Sussex County made $4.8 million in 2014
Gloucester County’s 2016 budget estimate of revenue from
                                  landfill rent is a sorry $263,406……..

Kenneth E. Hogge, Sr.
Gloucester PointVirginia

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