After more than $120,000 in losses last year and more mounting in 2013, the county landfill and related services have become a drain on the budget, say county officials.
“It’s the biggest issue I think we face right now other than capital expenditures,” said Chairman Guy McCook on Thursday.
According to County Manager Kevin Patterson, the combined landfill operations lost $129,000 during the 2011-12 fiscal year.
“And right now we’re still going to have a loss this year,” Patterson said.
Based on the discussions held this week on the matter, all options are on the table with the commissioners as they begin to plan next year’s budget.
“Do we cut our losses and get out of the garbage business?” Commissioner Carol McCall asked hypothetically of her fellow commissioners during a Thursday meeting. “We have got to meet separately (in committee) or decide what we are going to do about garbage in Scotland County.”
Patterson said that the county will see some built in savings for the 2013-14 year after the retirement of County Engineer and Facilities Manager Jim Blackwell.
“After that we will need to find some other ways (of cutting costs),” Patterson said.
Included among the options considered by the commissioners is the consolidation of county convenience locations.
The county’s convenience locations are being used less now than in the past, with more residents choosing to have their waste taken away by other services.
The convenience center most likely to get the ax, based on board discussion this week, is the one located at Sneads Grove. Users of that location would be directed to the Livingston Quarters facility.
County officials are confident that the Livingston Quarters facility can handle the additional load because during a past flood of the Sneads Grove facility the Livingstone Quarters location operated without difficulty.
Other options considered will likely be a change to the fee structure and/or partnering with other governments or a private service.
“Our waste patterns have changed and there is just no way to continue operating (our garbage services) as they currently are being operated,” concluded Patterson.