By Paul Gable
The details of the HCSWA recycling contract with Charleston County should become clearer before this week is over.
The HCSWA board will meet this afternoon. Included on the board agenda is a timeline discussion by executive director Danny Knight to answer questions about why the process took so long from first discussions with Charleston County to reach the HCSWA board and Horry County Council.
The Horry County Infrastructure and Regulation Committee will meet Thursday. The I&R agenda includes a discussion about the contract between the HCSWA and Charleston County, including the assumptions that go into the calculation of profit for the HCSWA.
According to reports from Charleston County, the county spent $8 million on recycling at its Romney Street facility last fiscal year and recyclables sold garnered $1.7 million.
There are some questions among committee members and others interested in the project why the same recyclables, with the added cost of trucking, can be processed at a profit in Horry County.
Additionally, sources familiar with the contract approval process say the Charleston County has purchased (or is in the process of purchasing) equipment to repair its Romney Street facililty in order to process recyclables in county in the near future.
Those sources predict the contract between Charleston County and the HCSWA will be cancelled within 90-120 days regardless of what happens with third reading of the budget amendment ordinance by Horry County Council.
The whole contract process has been cluttered with unnecessary problems.
The question remains of how the HCSWA will handle airspace at its Hwy 90 landfill. A majority of council has made it clear they do not want Charleston County recyclables that cannot be sold taking up additional space at the landfill without some type of offsetting reduction of airspace use by the HCSWA.
In an informal poll by a local media outlet, local readers voted by a 2 to 1 margin against bringing any form of trash generated outside of the county into the HCSWA landfill.
The HCSWA board was not formally included in contract discussions until a special meeting July 21, 2015 and did not approve the contract until July 31, 2015.
Full Horry County Council was not brought into the process until August 18, 2015 when all council members got their first glimpse of the contract at the same time they were scheduled to vote on first reading of a budget amendment, which gives council approval of the contract.
Second reading of that budget amendment failed at council’s September 1, 2015 regular meeting, but was reconsidered and passed at the September 15, 2015 regular meeting of council.
The I&R Committee will make a recommendation to full council for the third reading vote, which is tentatively scheduled for the regular council meeting of October 6, 2015.