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Opinions mixed for privatized landfill

Lutz wants to seek data on waste plan; others oppose importing trash

POSTED: May 27, 2011 11:06 p.m.

Once Hall County commissioners vote on a final budget in upcoming weeks, they’ll turn their eyes to the county’s landfill fund.

At Thursday’s board meeting, Commissioner Craig Lutz asked the others to consider sending a request for information to vendors to ask advice about possible privatization.

“I’ve talked to several vendors in the trash business, and they’ve come up with a lot of varying ideas,” he said. “It looks like they have some good ideas about how to turn the total solid waste fund into a profit item, and I think we should explore trying to obtain more information.”

Chairman Tom Oliver didn’t like the idea.

“I’m totally opposed to selling out our landfill if this is what this means, and I’m opposed to bringing in garbage from Atlanta,” he said. “At this time, I don’t think giving up the landfill is the way to go.”

A request for information would pull in different ideas and doesn’t require the county to follow any particular solution, Lutz noted.

“Some ideas I heard had to do with mothballing the landfill so we can make money, such as transferring trash out to other counties,” Lutz said. “Until we get ideas from people who are profitable, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to advance this particular fund forward.”

Seeking information and suggestions “at this point is safe,” said Commissioner Ashley Bell.

“The chairman is right to issue caution, but we know that government doesn’t have all the ideas and the private sector has to wake up every day and learn how to survive,” he said. “If the ideas are good, we’ll take them. If not, that’s OK.”

Commissioner Scott Gibbs, who gave the second motion to Lutz’s idea, added an amendment to exclude any options that would bring in garbage from outside of Hall County.

“I definitely want to make sure that every avenue is explored to where we don’t do that,” he said. “I don’t want this to be the garbage capital of the state of Georgia.”

Interim County Administrator Jock Connell asked for three weeks to complete the budget before issuing the request for information. All commissioners but Oliver agreed to move forward with the idea.

“I’ve also heard from several citizens who expressed a lot of concerns,” added Commissioner Billy Powell. “Let’s set a date to issue the request and in the mean time allow them to send in concerns to the commissioners.”



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