Although the business behind trash and recycling collection in unincorporated Buncombe County — Waste Pro of Longwood, Fla. — will likely stay the same after the county’s vote on a new contract, customers may see shifts in how the company goes about its work. The Board of Commissioners will decide whether to approve the agreement, which would come into effect in January, at its regular meeting on Tuesday, May 21, at 5 p.m. in Room 326 at 200 College St. in downtown Asheville.
Under the new contract, according to a presentation by county Solid Waste Director Dane Pedersen available before the meeting, all customers would receive trash and recycling containers from Waste Pro as part of a $19.21 monthly service fee. Currently, customers pay a $16.08 base fee and can rent containers for an optional $3.80 per month.
At an April 16 Commission pre-meeting, Pedersen explained that the change to standard containers would allow Waste Pro to automate more of its collection, thereby improving the speed and efficiency of its service. He said the company also planned to invest in 13 new trucks with automated side-loaders for the carts, including six powered by compressed natural gas.
Recycling would move from weekly collection through a “blue bag” system to fortnightly collection in carts. Waste Pro would also be required to reject recyclables mixed with trash and leave a sticker or hanger explaining why the collection wasn’t made.
Finally, the new contract includes a formal schedule of liquidated damages for contractor errors such as missed collections, leaking trucks and late recyclable materials reports. The previous contract did not specify any automatic damages for poor performance.
In other business
Commissioners will hear four reports during the meeting, including an update on the county’s strategic priority to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic. As noted in a presentation available before the meeting, overdose deaths increased from 38 to 92 between 2015 and 2017, while injection-related streptococcal infections more than tripled from 3 to 11 between 2017 and 2018.
In April, county staff members announced plans to open a syringe access service at the 40 Coxe Ave. Department of Health and Human Services facility. The presentation also includes a Sheriff’s Department proposal to offer North Carolina’s first in-jail medication-assisted treatment program at the Buncombe County Detention Facility.
The Asheville Regional Airport will offer an update on its substantial growth over the past year. Passenger numbers increased by 18.6% from 2017 to 2018, and Spirit Airlines became the location’s sixth airline when it added three regular flights to Florida in September.
Although the agenda for the meeting lists a presentation of the fiscal year 2020 budget message, no document was linked to that item as of press time. The only document currently available on the county’s Budget Department website for the next fiscal year is a strategic partnership grants timeline.
The board’s consent agenda for the meeting contains five items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include resolutions to:
- Approve six amendments to the fiscal year 2019 budget. The county will receive $225,000 in state lottery funding for roof replacements at W.D. Williams Elementary School in Swannanoa, as well as note the receipt of over $181,000 in cash seized by staff of the Sheriff’s Office.
- Award a service firearm to four retiring sheriff’s deputies. David Flanagan, Jeff Banks, Lance Stewart and Robert Stone will all receive the Glock Model 17 pistols they carried at retirement in thanks for their service.
The board will also hold a special budget work session at 2 p.m. in the first floor conference room in the same building to consider funding requests from the county’s fire districts and strategic partnership grant organizations. The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.