The Elbert County Solid Waste Department is now on the right track, but still not quite where the county commission would like to see it.
According to County Administrator Bob Thomas, the methane release issue at the old landfill seems to have been resolved which should help the county save money on the monitoring of methane release.
Thomas discussed further options that the county is exploring to help bring balance to the solid waste department.
“We’re also looking at going back and talking about the price of the bags, maybe increasing those as well as the tipping fees”, explained Thomas.
Another issue that is hurting the solid waste department, said Thomas, is the lack of trash from commercial businesses.
“Because of the economic situation we are not getting as much trash from commercial users that we have in the past, so that is hurting our revenues”, said Thomas. “There is not a lot we can do about that, other than try to get more industry here in Elbert County to generate more revenue for our transfer site.
Some changes that have already been made with the county’s solid waste division, is a cut in the hours of operation of some of the county’s convenience centers.
Referring to reports from the county’s CFO Phil Pitts, Thomas said they are seeing improvement in costs, but that they aren’t at the break even point yet.
One other thing that has made it tough on the county is the constantly changing price of recyclables.
“The recyclables that we do sell, fluctuate so much in pricing that one year could be a good year, and the next could be a bad year”, detailed Thomas. “That is one thing that can influence one year to the next.”
At one point the operating deficit of the solid waste department was nearly a million dollars. Today, that deficit is about half of that, currently sitting around five hundred thousand.
Thomas hopes that within a couple of years that the county will be able to erase the entire deficit.