Some Greenville County Council members were apparently taken aback to learn that its Twin Chimneys Landfill is taking on around 20,000 tons of trash from Laurens County each year, according to a report in the Greenville News.
Laurens County council members approved a deal to export solid waste to Twin Chimneys soon after a private sector provider chose not to renew its contract with the county at the beginning of 2019.
After considering another deal with a private trash service and landfill, Laurens County opted to sign a five-year deal in February with Greenville County to transport solid waste to Twin Chimney at a cost of $17 per ton.
“Probably what happened was one of the folks from a competing company raised a stink because (Greenville County’s) fees are very reasonable compared to theirs,” said Laurens County Administrator Jon Caime.
According to the Greenville News, Greenville County Administrator Joe Kernell and Council Chairman Butch Kiven cut the deal with Laurens County and a similar one with Pickens County without full approval of council – a violation of policy.
Since then, the Greenville County Council has considered the matter and voted 10-2 to approve the Laurens County contract.
“They basically voted to approve the contract that had already been approved,” Caime said.
The Greenville News article said Twin Chimneys landfill has been operating at a shortfall, including an expected $3.8 million deficit this year. The added funds from Laurens County is expected to offset those losses.
The deal with neighboring Greenville County is also a win for Laurens County, Caime said.
“It is very critical for us because we’re going to have to spend $1.5 million or more on a solid waste transfer station,” he said. “Our solid waste operation was bleeding money like crazy.”
Council members were set to consider a second rate increase for local taxpayers to offset those losses before the deal with Greenville County was reached. Now, no further increases following a $5 raise in fees is currently necessary.
Caime said a bid has been accepted to begin work on the design and permitting for the county’s solid waste transfer station after council members eschewed a combined “design-and-build” recommended by staff. The design and permitting is set to cost $127,000 and is expected to take about a year to complete.