Stressing the negative impact closing Central Kentucky Landfill would have on Scott County, Chief Operating Officer Greg Elkins sent a two-page letter to the Georgetown City Council and Scott County Fiscal Court last week. Georgetown City Council members received the letter roughly three hours before giving voice approval to final negotiations with Republic Services for the city’s sanitation collection starting Jan. 1, 2022.
“I know that much has been said already about the landfill and its potential closing later this year,” Elkins wrote to the News-Graphic in an email. “This issue is not only important to me, it is important to the 110 employees that are employed by Waste Services of the Bluegrass and its family of companies. All of the men and women live in central Kentucky and many of them live right here in Scott County.
“They have families here, they pay taxes here, they have homes here and they send their children to school here. The closing of this landfill can be measured in millions of dollars, but more importantly it can be measured in the hardship and worry of the families of those that are employed. It is too important to just go away quietly.”
Last year, the Scott County Fiscal Court revised its Solid Waste Management Plan to prohibit any solid waste to be dumped in the county once Central Kentucky Landfill, which is located in northern Scott County, reaches capacity. County officials believe the landfill reached capacity late last year, but a judge ordered the landfill to remain open until Oct. 31, 2021, to allow municipalities using it to find an alternative.
Multiple lawsuits and state administrative actions are pending as Waste Services of the Bluegrass (WSB), owners of Central Kentucky Landfill (CKL) and Central Kentucky Hauling (CKH) seek to expand the landfill and remain open. Because of the pending lawsuits and other actions, county officials have recently declined to comment on any actions by WSB, but have indicated they believe the landfill will be closed Oct. 31, barring an unforeseen court action.
That acknowledgment is why Georgetown Mayor Tom Prather and the city sought bids to privatize its trash collection services. The city reviewed its costs for hauling its solid waste to another location other than CKY and determined it would not be cost effective. The city has also struggled to find employees for its sanitation department and the escalating cost of the heavy equipment motivated city leaders to explore privatization.
CKH submitted two bids to the city for the sanitation service. One was based upon CKY remaining open and one bid was if the landfill were closed and the solid waste had to be transported elsewhere.
“We threw out the bid that assumed the landfill would remain in operation,” Prather said. “The city is working on the belief the landfill will be closed Oct. 31, or some date soon.”
During the meeting in which the council authorized the city to hold final negotiations with Republic, the mayor alerted the council to the CKH letter and encouraged them to read it.
Elkins’ letter to public officials cites financial information based upon the bid with CKL remaining operational which is the bid thrown out by the city and not considered against the other bids. CKH’s second bid was considered and placed third behind Republic Services, which was the lowest bid, according to the city officials, and Rumpke.
“The City of Georgetown currently services 11,344 residences of which 10,080 households pay for the regular service and 1,264 households receive a senior citizen discount,” Elkins stated in the letter. CKH’s bid with mandatory recycling is $1.8 million, he said.
“The CKH was the only company to come in below the $2 million mark,” Elkins wrote. “The CKH proposal beat the next best proposal by more than $259,000 per year.”
Elkins emphasized other benefits the city would receive with CKH.
“It is abundantly clear the CKH proposal is the lowest and best deal for the residents of Georgetown, even if you only consider costs, but there are numerous other advantages,” Elkins wrote. “There is an annual rebate of $255,000 the city would receive if the proposal is accepted. There is a free dump day at the landfill with an approximate annual value of $150,000 to be considered. The cost savings to the Georgetown Wastewater Facilities is more than $200,000 per year.
“Finally, these jobs both at the landfill and hauling of the City of Georgetown waste are primarily from right here in your city and county as opposed to the other companies that will be hiring from Montgomery and Franklin County.”
Based upon a five-year contract, Elkins said the savings to Georgetown would be significant.
“This equates to a $5.4 million savings over the life of the contract or possibly as much as $11.9 million depending upon which option is chosen,” Elkins said, referring to a second option in the bid which calls for voluntary recycling, instead of mandatory in the first option. “The only way for the city and its taxpayers to realize these benefits is to stop Scott County officials in their attempts to close a business that has existed for more than 20 years and provided a valuable service to this county while saving it millions of dollars over that time. I am asking you to not allow this county judge executive and the fiscal court to force the taxpayer in the City of Georgetown to absorb these unnecessary costs.”
Georgetown officials are moving forward with final negotiations with Republic Services to assume the city’s trash collection services Jan. 1, 2022. Republic has a transfer station located in Scott County and the solid waste would be taken there and then transferred to a landfill elsewhere. Included in the bid is a $210,000 franchise fee the city would use to continue collecting brush and yard debris.
The bids were scored based upon several criteria, city officials said. Among the criteria were ability to provide the service, costs, willingness to hire city employees if necessary and value added services such as recycling.
Mike Scogin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.