Blow to the flow? RSWA, Boyd distancing from monopoly talk
Two weeks after the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority Board discussed its interest in getting a flow control ordinance to bolster a revamped Ivy transfer station, Authority director Tom Frederick now appears to be backing away from such a move, which would have given the Authority monopoly control over trash collection and might have driven the Authority's nemesis out of business.
On October 7, after news of the flow control discussion broke and Coy Barefoot and Rob Schilling took up the issue on their radio programs, Frederick appeared before the County Board of Supervisors to say that his staff was not presently pursing flow control.
“I have not been directed by the Board to work on a flow control ordinance,” said Frederick, summarizing what he told the Supes, “and am not working on one.”
Earlier in the week, Supervisor Ken Boyd, who also sits on the RSWA Board, called in to Schilling’s show to distance himself from flow control, a term he said he “was not familiar with” when it came up at the Waste Authority meeting.
Since then, Boyd said he’d learned that adopting a flow control ordinance for a private trash facility would be illegal. True. But the Board also discussed the possibility of creating an Authority-owned facility built and operated by a private investor, which Authority lawyer Kurt Krueger characterized as an arrangement that might legally allow the Authority to adopt a flow control. “That way,” added County development director Mark Graham, “you’re sure of your market before you make an investment.”
So is flow control truly off the table? While the RSWA Board has yet to make a decision on the matter, Boyd told Schilling he was “willing to listen and get the information and facts before we make a decision,” but added that “flow control sounds like something I don’t want to support.”
Friday, Boyd was still irked by the suggestion that he supported the ordinance.
“It is absolutely false that I supported flow control,” says Boyd, calling it “more than a stretch” to suggest he ever did.
As Boyd explains, his preference is for a private company to take over the Ivy site and build and operate a transfer station there to take the "burden" of trash collection off local government.
“We are just envisioning a transfer station where we can increase single stream recycling to forward to a MRF,” says Boyd, referring to a Material Recovery Facility. “If we did that, we intend to invite any MRF operator to bid on our recyclables.”
But why would anyone bring trash to a new Ivy transfer station when there is already an area MRF just down the road? Indeed, Peter Van der Linde’s new Materials Recovery Facility in Zion Crossroads, which charges $22 less per ton than the Authority does, is about the same distance East of Charlottesville as the Ivy site is to the West. Without a flow control guarantee, what could the Authority offer a potential investor to ensure that trash is brought to the facility?
Boyd can think of a few. “The location of an already-permitted site in the Western part of the county, proximity to a growth area, fuel cost saving, and we could consider a favorable lease arrangement," he says.
However, as Krueger and other Board members have already suggested, there might not be much of a response to an RFP without a flow control guarantee, as the man the Authority is currently suing for $20 million is essentially making the idea of transfer stations obsolete.
For instance, if the Authority took Van der Linde up on his offer to place his containers at the Ivy site for free, where haulers and citizens on the Western side of town could deposit their trash and recyclables, and which Van der Linde says he will monitor and empty at his MRF for $75 and charge a $24 per ton tipping fee, $32 less than the Authority charges at its Ivy facility, wouldn’t that basically accomplish the same thing as building a new Ivy transfer station?
At post time, Boyd had not yet responded to that question.
“As I have stated many times one of my personal objectives is to increase recycling in the county,” Boyd said earlier. “What we are wondering is whether or not there is a feasible business plan that does not involve taxpayers dollars.”
Updated 10/12/2009 12:28
Waste story archives
October 8, 2009–Council Candidates condemn RSWA lawsuit
October 1, 2009–Lawyers, trash, and money
September 28, 2009–Flow blow: Wasteworks may seek trash monopoly
August 17, 2009–Trash talkin': Waste war could decide the future
August 17, 2009–Don Van der Linde? Wasteworks whacks recycler with RICO
May 29, 2009–Recycle this! Van der Linde steps up tone
May 19, 2009–Dire words for Waste Authority
April 2, 2009–What a Waste: Is the trash Authority going obsolete?
February 14, 2008–Coming soon! van der Linde's amazing recycling machine