BoCC meeting Oct 4th - landfill decision?

I'm at the Orange County Board of County Commissioners meeting tonight to hear the latest on the landfill and Rogers Road mitigation.  I'm spending a night outside the school district and talking about issues that won't help me get elected, so it must be important.  The attachment (link below) has a county manager proposal that closes the landfill in 2013, and also addresses some of the mitigation items requested by the community.  Looking forward to BoCC reaction -- are we going to finally do something for this community or push it further along the road? 



Justice United folks are "in the house".  This room doesn't have a ton of seats, but almost all are filled with a cross section of our community -- I see Community Church members, Chapel Hill Kehillah, RENA leaders, UNC students, Habitat leaders, IFC leaders, NRG rep, Orange VOICE members, St. Thomas More reps, and me from Holy Trinity Lutheran.  I'm sure I'm missing some I don't recognize.  Who knows who is here for other business, but 50 people (on short notice) still here 1 hour into the meeting. 

Minister Campbell, Kathy Kaufman, Stan Cheren, Bonnie Hauser, Stephanie Perry, and a gentleman from the Fox Meadow neighborhood.   Don't care about county's legal issues with tipping, etc.  Want a date certain to close and get historic Rogers Rd taken care of.  Moral issue to take care of impact from Rogers Rd. Fox Meadow brought up a recent arsenic test which was very high.

McKee - How much to hook up water for remaining 40 homes in historic neighborhood?  Pam H says she definitely wants to do this - now.  Could use landfill funds to do right now.Jacobs - upset over "public involvement as a disadvantage" in document 3 times - need to be clear with consultants who not in tune with our values. 

Did anyone say anything about the repeated point made in the staff response that if they close the landfill, there won't be enough money from tipping fees to address the remediation requests?

The BoCC basically agreed to give up trying to use those funds, which partly means they have more flexibility in what they spend on (because it doesn't have to be directly tied to landfill damage) and partly because they don't have enough $ left over from fees to cover cost of closing the site/maintaining forever.

Jacobs - when was liner breeched?  Considers a difference between Fox Meadow and Rogers Rd based on well monitoring.  Wants to talk with Carrboro and CH about mitigation strategy.  Greene tract set aside as open space, but willing to discuss. Landfill funds vs general fund should also be discussed.Foushee - BoCC made a commitment to deal with this, need to do it now.  Want to extend water to homes, not just prop line  

but here were the actions the BoCC took:Approved recommendations 1 and 2 in the agenda (starting on page 6) unanimously.Tabled recommendation  3Approved recommendation 4 with an intended date of Spring 2013 (McKee dissenting).  This was done through a negative action -- the board told the staff to not seek any permit extensions, so the landfill will fill up in Spring 13.Took care of recommendations 5 and 6 by asking for a meeting with the towns before Feb 4, 2012.


and now County leadership has painted themselves into a corner. Who would have thought back in 1992 during the landfill search that the Rogers Road community would receive no mitigation for twenty years? End result - BOCC will pat themselves on the back for doing the right thing and our trash will go to some corporate landfill over the horizon in some God-forsaken poor community whose residents we don't know.

Of which that corporate landfill will be pay that poor community a huge fee for each ton going into that landfill which goes directly into that poor communities revenue flow making the communities bufget richer and able to afford more money to educate the community so they can get out of the poverty cycle.None of Orange County tipping fees goes into Orange County budget revenues which contributes to even higher property taxes in Orange County.  

Sounds like a Waste Management, Inc. fairy tale to me, but I'll withold judgement pending actual facts.

AMoose--can you please give an example of a community that you know this happened in? When I lived in Florida and saw similar promises from bottled water companies, the residents of the county saw no benefit but ended up paying for more infrastructure to support the corporate operations.

Uwharrie Regional Landfill in Montgomery County where the Durham Transfer station sends it's trash does collect a significant fee for out of county trash that goes directly into the local government revenue flow which flows to schools, services etc. Will try and track down what the fee is.

Montgomery county udget gets revenue of $2.41 per ton for host fee, they get funds for ADC Alternative Daily Cover, Franhise Fee and once a year Recreation fee. They all increase once a year with CPI.


OC generates about 50k tons of Municipal Solid Waste, so we're talking $120k a year or so they might get from OC.  Given what we know about what it takes to mitigate the impact on a community of hosting a landfill for a long time as we've been looking at exactly that for the Rogers Rd/Eubanks community right now, I would say $120k isn't enough.  It wouldn't pay for the odors, varmin, illegal dumping, water quality, trucks driving down the road, etc that they deal with every day.  Let's just say there are 100 neighbors within a mile of the landfill.  Would you want everyone's trash in your backyard for $1,200 a year in extra services?


Durham is already sending their trash there and not sure if other counties send theirs as well or how much revenue they get from accepting out of couty trash, seems like it could be substantial. OC would be additive to what they already receive. Landfill is already there so they need to mitigate no matter if OC sends or not. It is a REGIONAL landfill and Montgomery County has made a choice to accept out of county solid waste for a revenue stream from a region that seems to include Orange County.Let's say they get 1 million per year, how much bond money can they generate from 1 million each year. Enough to build a school, fix their existing schools, buy new technology?? Again OC landfill group does not contribute 1 penney to Orange county revenues.I am only resonding to an invalid assumption here that we would be dumping on some poor community with no benefit to that community.  It's obvious Orange county residents don't want airports or landfills in their back yards. Maybe you do but I hope I don't live near you.

Looks like the Montgomery County will realize $1.6 million this year from host fee revenues generated from accepting solid waste from out of county. This does not include any future revenue from accepting solid waste from Orange County.

Trucking companies must only use main roads, do litter patrol, and clean areas that trash may fly off, and do recycling education in their school system.

Most of the video from the session is here (apparently they cut off BoCC meetings at 3 hours for broadcast) --

Video of BOCC regular meetings can be found at the link below. 

Select 8-a in the index for the October 4th meeting. 


David Hunt

Orange County - Deputy Clerk / Information Specialist


WCHL's Elizabeth Friend did a great report onTuesday's  meeting - explaining that the county's plan to raise tipping fees is causing volumes to decline.  Manager  Clifton listed several nearby lower cost disposal options (Durham and Waste Industries Transfer stations and the Alamance and Person County landfills).    He further reported that at today's rate, OC landfill is $57 a ton; Durham is $42.50 a ton - so the savings in the tipping fee( $14.50 a ton - think 4-5 tons per truckload)  is likely to more than offset increased costs to haul to durham - especially if the towns and the county redesign their routes so that the trucks end closer to the durham transfer station.  

If the county increases tipping fees each year as planned - then the economics become even more favorable to close it. The point here - is that  - considering alternatives  --  it appears to cost more to keep the landfill open than it does to close it.

 A bigger issue is that the landfill tipping fees CANNOT be used for the Rogers Road mitigation - except for the few -relatively inexpensive things the board approved the other night - extending water to the rest of the community (the lines are already there - about 40 homes need to be connected - county estimates $288,000 to do that) and cleanup the illegal dumpsites that surround the community ( county estimates $50,000 but others believe it will cost more.)

 NC Statute 152A-292 says that tipping fees (the solid waste enterprise fund) can only be used for landfill opeations and direct impacts.  The attorneys seem to agree that that includes providing water and cleaning up the dump sites.   The enterprise fund cannot be used for sewer - which is most of the mitigation expense ($3- $4 million out of roughly  $5 million).  Nor can it be used to help RENA with their community center.

 So if the landfill is costing a fortune to keep open and it cant pay for what is needed for RENA - why not close it -and use the savings and other funding sources (including selling portions of the Greene tract) to fund the mitigation.  One idea  that the manager floated was issuing a long term, low interest bond as a shared obligation of the towns and county - which seems fair since we all share in the obligation to Rogers Road

What surprised us - and wasn't discussed on Tuesday  - was the unexpected request  for $4 million to provide  water lines to the entire communiy surrounding Rogers Road (Fox Meadow, Meadow Run Court and others).   RENA asked for mitigation (water, sewer, cleanup dump sites, landfill buffer, help for the community center, and date certain to close the landfill) roughly estimate at $5 million).  The commissioners approved $288,000 of the $4 million to connect the Rogers Road homes to water lines.  But no one asked why the county was seeking the other $3.7 million. 

 The county did indicate that they estimate will cost roughly $8 million to close the landfill and they have about $7.5 million in reserve.

Lets close the landfill now, deliver the amenities for Rogers Road (all of them ) and finally end this dark chapter of our history.   No matter where the exonomics end up, it can't be worse than continuing on the current path.

Bonnie Hauser,

Orange County Voice who is working proudly in coalition with RENA and Justice United

I wonder how providing  water to the community is considered a "direct cost" but other types of mitigation are not?


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