By Paul Gable
When Horry County Council tabled a resolution to sign a contract with the Horry County Solid Waste Authority (HCSWA) it took the first step to get an out of control agency under control.
This was a much needed and long overdue step, but only the first of what must be many steps.
In refusing to sign the contract, the county is now in the ridiculous position of paying higher tipping fees at its own landfill than Waste Industries, which has signed a contract.
A private hauler getting better rates at the county owned landfill than the county?
And for anyone who doesn’t believe the landfill is owned by the county, one only has to refer to the many statements by HCSWA director Danny Knight in which he said the landfill was owned by all the citizens of the county.
If reduced tipping fees are earned by an entity, no matter whether public or private, it should receive them automatically without the need of a contract at a publicly owned landfill. After all, it’s the public’s garbage that is being dumped there.
The next step has to be extending the life of the landfill. There is one simple way to accomplish this quickly – ELIMINATE CONSTRUCTION AND DEMOLITION WASTE FROM THE CURRENT COUNTY FLOW CONTROL ORDINANCE.
This must be done for a number of reasons, but the primary one is to extend the limited life of the current landfill.
When the HCSWA moves into its piggyback landfill expansion space next year, it estimates it will run out of space by 2035.
However, it plans to co-mingle C&D waste with municipal solid waste in that expansion even though the entire space will be constructed to take MSW. It is approximately 10 times more costly to build an MSW landfill than one for C&D.
Why co-mingle the two in the same landfill space? Because the HCSWA is more worried about what will be built on the landfill when it is finally closed rather than worrying how to extend that date.
Seems like horrible management to me. We can ship C&D out of the county, extending the life of the landfill by at least one-third, thereby providing better overall service to the citizens of the county.
Why isn’t the HCSWA looking at this? Because it suffers from too much bureaucratic thinking and not enough common sense! That’s what bureaucracies do – waste money!
The HCSWA has spent too many years claiming to be whatever status it needed to be at a particular time in order to build its bureaucratic structure. We don’t need a bureaucracy on Hwy 90. We need a responsible organization efficiently running the county landfill.
Obviously forgetting his earlier statements, Knight recently told the county’s Infrastructure and Regulation Committee, ‘sometimes we’re not the county, sometimes we’re somewhat the county and sometimes we’re somewhere in between.’
For example, it has claimed in federal court to be an independent, private, non-profit corporation that owns the landfill. Yet, to the IRS it wants to claim to be a discreet component unit of Horry County government.
Wrong! It’s past time the HCSWA understood it’s all the time always the county. No other way works with a public landfill.
The financial repercussions, either in court or with the IRS, if any, will have to be dealt with by those who made such stupid decisions and statements.