Recycling rates go up in Southern Shores, may lead to budget amendment
Published 4:46 am Sunday, December 29, 2019
During the town council meeting in Southern Shores on Dec. 3, a representative from Bay Disposal came to request an amendment to their contract with the town.
Joshua Smaltz, the Outer Banks site manager for Bay Disposal, went over the current contract between Bay Disposal and the Town of Southern Shores. At the time the contract was signed in June 2018, the processing rate for recycling was $20 per ton. In November of 2018, the rate increased to $65 per ton. “We just got notification that as of November 1, 2019, the rate increased again,” Smaltz said. The processing rate is now $110 per ton.
Smaltz explained the reason behind this enormous increase over the past year: “Basically, everybody overseas no longer wants to recycle. It’s a lot of contamination issues across the county. Until we get local mills in the United States, this is going to be an issue.”
To compensate for this increased rate, Smaltz asked to change the rate per home from $5.42 to $7.40 per month. If agreed upon, this new rate would take effect January 1, 2020.
To offer some numbers on how much this service is being used in the town, Smaltz said in July of this year, the can count for the Town of Southern Shores was 2,131 carts, which is 21.85 tons with an average of 28.25 lbs. per home. In the month of November of this year, Smaltz reported the can count being 910 carts, averaging 8.42 tons with 18.5 lbs. per home.
“Even in the off season, we are collecting around 900 cans per month,” he said. Smaltz expressed his hope that Bay Disposal could continue offering their services to the town.
Matt Neal, newly elected councilman, asked if Bay Disposal had spoken with the neighboring towns about this issue. “The Town of Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head have been through the increase,” he responded. Due to the other towns having subscription agreements, Smaltz said their collections are almost double the rate of what he is asking for from Southern Shores. If the town were to switch to a subscription service, it would cost about $13 per month per residence.
Councilman Jim Conners brought up rumors about Bay Disposal taking their recycling to a landfill. “With the contracts that we have, it would ultimately ruin our relationship with the towns and counties” if that were true, Smaltz said. Smaltz said he was aware of the rumors, but he confirmed that Bay Disposal does not bring their recycling to a landfill. He did address the only exception.
“The only time it could end up in a landfill is if we take it to the recycling facility and they reject the load,” Smaltz said. Recycling centers can reject loads if they are contaminated. Contaminated items include plastic containers that still have food or materials in them, for example a mayonnaise container that still has remnants of mayonnaise once it is taken to the center.
Once Smaltz had addressed all the questions from the council, Bonnie Swain, finance and human resource director, informed everyone this amendment to the contract would require a budget amendment. From January through June, the six-month increase would be $28,441 at the $7.40 rate.
Smaltz did admit that since meeting with the Town of Southern Shores to go over the amendment to the contract in November, the processing fee increased yet again to $120. “It seems like we are being caught in a national and international market collapse,” Conners said. Smaltz agreed that the rate has astronomically increased from 2018 to 2019, but he has been working with Bay Disposal to find a solid rate that would work for everyone. “No one wants to have a fluctuating rate,” he said.
After the council members discussed with Smaltz the new rate, they decided to defer their decision until the January meeting. Neal and Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Morey wanted annual and monthly tonnage rates as well as a can count from as many months as Smaltz could provide.
Smaltz agreed to have the additional information to the council within the next couple of weeks so the members could review and reconvene in January to make their final decision on the amended contract.