Under the current agreement, Waste Management, who owns the landfill’s air space, but leases the property from the Anderson family, can only bring in 1,150 tons of trash per day. The company would like to double that per day amount, allowing them an early “fill up” by 2015.
Waste Management representatives presented this amendment proposal to the court last October when negotiations with the property owners fell short after four years of trying to extend the lease agreement. The court, at that time, did not want to make a decision without allowing the citizens to chime in on what they wanted, inviting them to contact their magistrates.
Since then, negotiations have been continuing between the Andersons’ attorney Bud Strickler and Waste Management's legal representative Bob Leiniger, but once again to no avail.
Waste Management said they had hoped to reach an agreement with the property owners to stretch out the landfill’s life. It has always been Waste Management’s desire to fill the landfill to its capacity of 3.3 million tons, but they would now have to do it within the five years they have left instead of spreading it out over 15 or so years.
The landfill currently has 1.75 million cubic yards left in air space, which means the volume of waste it can hold. It is only half full, says landfill director Charlie Gillian.
“Whoever bought this landfill without owning the property underneath it, well I don’t know why they did it,” said Leiniger to the fiscal court Tuesday.
Leiniger told the court Waste Management has been paying rent on the property for years and over the last five years have tried to reach an agreement to extend the lease but had to “face the music” recently that was not going to happen.
“We can’t leave this landfill half full, that’s just crazy,” said Leiniger.
If the county lifts the current volume amount and allows Waste Management to fill the landfill up in five years they will receive $1.8 million dollars by 2015 instead of stretching that amount out over the nest 15 or 20 years.
“What I have heard from people is that the environment is more important than money,” said Magistrate Dickie Carter, who has historically been against the landfill coming to Logan County.
Gillian told the court that time was running out and if Waste Management couldn’t start increasing the daily tonnage, there would be no way the could get it filled in time.
“We are at a very important point right now. We need to see how we will proceed. The company has a lot of money in this area and we want to be partners on this,” said Gillian.
At one point Waste Management was looking into expanding the landfill. The company owns land around the current landfill; however, they have found it is not beneficial for an expansion and want to utilize what they can before having to close it up in 2015. Even when the landfill is no longer in operation, Waste Management will have continue to monitor the site for the next 30 years which will cost millions of dollars.
The bulk of the landfill’s waste comes from Tennessee according to Gillian, which is well within the current agreement.
Magistrate Thomas Bouldin said his position hasn’t changed.
“When we asked the citizens in Logan County what they thought it seems they wanted the landfill here as long as reasonably possible. The court should not keep a business hostage. We should allow them to do their business,” said Bouldin, who would have liked to have had an agreement between the property owners and Waste Management. But since that did not happen they needed to come up with another plan.
Bouldin suggested the court act as a mediator between Waste Management and the Anderson family and try to get a deal resolved. If that does not work, then the court needs to come back to the table and talk about the county’s host agreement.
“I’d like to get that $1.8 million over the next 20 years,” said Bouldin adding, “but that may not happen.”
“We’ve got enough (trash) trucks coming through Adairville, I don’t want no more,” said Magistrate Harold Prince.
Gillian reiterated the time constraints to the court. Attorney Leiniger agreed to the arbitration but was very skeptical that it will work considering they have tried for the past five years.
“This is not our only option, because of time problems we are going to have to make some hard decisions soon,” said Gillian, who would like to see the county benefit monetarily from the contract.
Magistrate Carter is concerned with changing the host agreement.
“If we change it we can't take it back unless both parties agree to change it. If problems occur and I know they will, we can’t go back,” said Carter. “Landfills leak, it’s leaking now. I see on TV all the time about this. They haven’t made a liner that lasts more than 20 years.”
Leiniger said Waste Management had a huge asset with the landfill and they would not just let it sit there half empty. “What are you saying, you’re not going to let it just sit there. Is that a threat?” asked Magistrate Carter.
Leiniger referenced his statements to having silos sitting full of corn.
"If you can’t sell them are you just going to let them rot? I’m saying we are not just going to sit and let it rot.”
The court will meet with the property owners and their respective attorneys and come back to the table to discuss the issues the first of the year.