Commissioners approve solid waste ordinance

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The Person County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the second reading of the Solid Waste Disposal Franchise Ordinance earlier this month.

The approval comes after the second required vote after the ordinance was initially approved Nov. 4. The approvals come after the county’s landfill contract with Republic Services was amended and adopted Sept. 23.

The franchise agreement outlines the location of the operation, the expected life span of the facility, details of the geographic area to be served and procedures for county oversight.

The ordinance states that the landfill consists of 479.69 acres located in the Tirzah Township, 10 miles southeast of Roxboro at the intersection of Highway 158 and SR 1724 near the Granville County line.

The ordinance also states that the landfill will serve the incorporated or unincorporated areas of any county and independent Virginia city partly or wholly within 60 miles of the Person County line. This includes Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Davidson, Durham, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Granville, Guilford, Halifax, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Nash, Northampton, Orange, Person, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Vance, Wake, Warren and Wilson counties in North Carolina. Also included are the Virginia counties of Patrick, Henry, Halifax, Mecklenburg, Brunswick, Greensville, Franklin, Bedford, Campbell, Charlotte, Lunenburg, Amherst, Appomattox, Buckingham, Cumberland, Prince Edward, Nottoway, Pittsylvania and Dinwiddie and the independent cities of Lynchburg, Danville and Martinsville.

The life expectancy of the landfill has been updated to 37 years from the initial contract date which means company and county officials believe the landfill will be able to take in trash until 2032.

Speaking to the students in attendance as part of Local Government Day, Commissioner Jimmy Clayton commented on the history of the landfil0l.

“You all in the audience don’t know this, but that landfill was built before most of you were born, probably all of you students,” Clayton said. “It was promised to Person County that it would only be here for 20 years and 20 years has gone and the landfill is still here.”

Clayton said the landfill was a new issue when he joined the board and the first meeting he attended before he became a commissioner was in the County Auditorium filled with people who didn’t want the landfill in Person County.

“The rules were quite different back then,” he said. “The county was getting a certain amount of money out of it and I’m not saying whether it was good or bad as far as the amount – that’s water over the dam. I want to compliment this board on the fact that the state law has changed where we don’t really have a choice. We’re either going to get something out of this landfill or do nothing and get nothing. That’s just what it boils down to and where it’s at. It’s the reason you don’t see this room packed today because the state legislature changed the law and if you don’t like the way its written, talk to your state legislator.”

Clayton said the commissioners created a water and sewer fund that would be partially funded by money from the landfill and if the landfill pollutes the groundwater, residents would need a water line installed that would cost around $12 million – a large amount of money for the county.

Clayton reiterated that the county was promised 20 years of the landfill and said the landfill will probably be around for another 15 or 20 years.

“The people who operate that landfill, as far as I’m concerned, are good people,” he said. “It’s not something against the people operating it, its against the process of the landfill itself that’s allowed by state and federal regulations.”

Now that the county can get some return on the landfill, Clayton said the commissioners are at a point where they don’t have a choice.

“It’s been kind of an ongoing battle, but it looks like the battle is over,” he said. “Sometimes you have to do what you have to do, and today I have to do what I think is in the best interest of the county. I did vote for this ordinance the last time we met because I really feel like I don’t have a choice if I’m doing what’s in the best interest of the county.”

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