It's official -- Bedford County is now a member of the Interlocal Solid Waste Authority (ISWA), and the county's authority will continue to operate "as is"
The county has worked toward joining the ISWA since the Cedar Ridge Landfill in Marshall County closed in early 2011, leaving no place to haul its garbage. In April 2011, the county commission voted to join the ISWA, but it has been a long legal process to get both Bedford and Moore counties approved.
Now that the county has joined ISWA, they are paying $23.78 a ton to dispose of garbage, and each county and city in the organization also pays 95 cents per ton per month for the ISWA's operating costs, highway superintendant Stanley Smotherman said.
Instead of sending the county's check to the Middle Point landfill in Rutherford County, it will go to the ISWA, Smotherman said, and the county does not have to fill out an annual report.
But when the contract with Middle Point expires, the ISWA will be able to negotiate a new agreement and the county will be able to get a lower rate. The current rate of $23.78 is due to the fact that Bedford and Moore County came into the organization late in the contract's cycle. ISWA members currently pay $19.16 per ton.
But what's the fate of the county's authority? County mayor Eugene Ray said he spoke to ISWA members who told him that they "need to operate for a while," noting that the addition of the two counties has created more responsibility for the group.
"We're going to have to find out as we go along and see how it works," Ray said. "See how it impacts them and how it impacts us."
Lynn Wampler of South Central Tennessee Development District suggested that the authority "keep things at an even pace for a while," Smotherman relayed to the county group, and "not start making rash decisions."
ISWA also had a recycling coordinator that will be going around to the various counties in the group, Smotherman said.
The authority has deferred accepting bids for scrap metal recycling so that the best value can be found.
Four different businesses tried to convince the authority that their companies will be able to meet the county's needs for selling the metal and salvaged appliances.
The metal is to be transported to whichever facility is selected by the county's trucks and the bids are to be based on the percentage of the market value of the scrap.
The bids were placed by three Shelbyville firms and one out-of-town company. Mid TN Metal Recovery offered 40 percent of the market rate, with PSC Metals making a 48 percent bid and Valley Salvage making a 61 percent offer.
But Harmon Scrap Metal of Cornersville made a bid of 100 percent of the market value, saying they "really wanted the county's business," but the only difference was the county would have to make round trip deliveries totalling 93 miles.
Despite the 100 percent bids, the transportation costs gave the authority concern, and they nearly awarded the bid to Valley Salvage, contingent on the company acquiring proof of insurance and a security deposit.
But following more debate, action on the bids was deferred until December, so issues such as ransportation costs, where the metal would be weighed can be sorted out and the best value for the county determined.
The council also awarded the waste tire bid to Liberty Tire Recycling of Shelbyville at the rate of $65 a ton.