Laurinburg, Scotland resume talks on disposal expense

By Terri Ferguson Smith - [email protected]

LAURINBURG — City and county officials will meet this afternoon to discuss how the two municipalities will deal with garbage disposal and its cost.

A joint meeting of the Laurinburg City Council and the Scotland County Board of Commissioners will be held at 4 p.m. at the Emergency Operations Center at 1403 West Blvd., Laurinburg.

The Laurinburg council recently voted to take its municipal solid waste to the Robeson County landfill in St. Pauls because the rate was significantly lower.

But the loss of the city’s business may make it more difficult for the county to negotiate a good rate with waste disposal companies when its contract expires with Uwharrie Environmental at the end of June, 2017.

“Obviously the more volume that you have when you are negotiating, the better price that will be,” County Manager Kevin Patterson told the commission at its Aug. 1 meeting. “That price would benefit the county and the city of Laurinburg as well.”

In July, the Laurinburg City Council approved a memorandum of understanding with Robeson County to take its municipal solid waste — residential and business garbage — to Robeson County’s landfill in St. Pauls rather than being serviced by Scotland County’s transfer station. To end its agreement with Robeson County, the city must provide a 60-day notice.

The city was paying Scotland County $55.75 per ton to handle its municipal solid waste but negotiated with Robeson County a price of $36.50 per ton.

“We want to make sure we work together to negotiate with the city of Laurinburg,” Patterson said on Monday.

Because the majority of the municipal solid waste Scotland County has been taking to its transfer station is from Laurinburg, it will be more difficult to get a good deal with waste disposal companies, he said.

As the end of the contract between the county and Uwharrie nears, the county will ask for bids from waste disposal companies, he said.

Charles Nichols, city manager for Laurinburg, said the city council has indicated that it would consider partnering with the county again.

“They said if the county can match the rate we’re getting from Robeson County, they’d be open to it,” Nichols said.

In explaining the change last month, Nichols said that the city would save more than $138,000 annually by taking its garbage to St. Pauls, which includes the extra costs of gas and vehicle maintenance driving its garbage trucks to the landfill.

By Terri Ferguson Smith

[email protected]

Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-506-3169.

Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-506-3169.

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