BROOKSVILLE — As garbage continues to pile up and fill the Hernando County landfill, county commissioners on Tuesday accepted a bid to expand the dump.
County officials still don't know if they will pay the approximately $5.5 million cost because they are waiting to hear whether the county will receive a grant or loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Officials are eager to get the expansion under way because they anticipate that the cell now being used will be full by the middle of 2010. That is about how long it will take to construct and have approved half of the new landfill cell, if everything goes along without a hitch, utilities director Joe Stapf told commissioners on Tuesday.
The commission has already agreed to let commercial haulers take their loads outside Hernando County. Stapf said that if the county has to start hauling other trash outside, it could cost $16,000 a day.
The commission unanimously approved the bid from Southeast Environmental Construction for $5.4 million with an alternate that would cost $100,000 more. That alternate will be necessary if the USDA money comes through because there will be additional requirements if the federal money is used.
Southeast Environmental recently informed the county that the company had made a mistake and underbid the project, but commissioners did not discuss that issue during Tuesday's session and accepted the bid as it was delivered.
The county is also looking for ways to save money in the recycling center. Stapf said that the county's recycling program costs $1.3 million annually and makes about $400,000 per year selling the recyclable materials.
Other communities that use companies to sort, bale and load the materials gain revenue from the operation. If the task were privatized, the county could lose 15 full-time equivalent jobs, but Staph told commissioners that the winning firm might hire some of the county workers.
In a related matter, commissioners referred to Stapf petitions the county has received from residents of Silverthorne who addressed the board Tuesday, asking to be included in the curbside recycling program in place in part of Spring Hill.
Commissioners also agreed to seek bids for a company to excavate and move the dirt that landfill operators use to cover the garbage at the end of the day. Stapf said money would be saved because the county wouldn't have to lease the same equipment and would lose several equipment operators.
It costs the county $5 per cubic yard to run the operation, and some contractors have told Stapf they could do the job for as little as $2 per cubic yard. The landfill moves 30,000 cubic yards per year so that can add up, he said. "The only way to know for certain is to go out for bid,'' Stapf said.
In other business
Commissioners took several actions on Tuesday to move forward with plans to make neighborhood improvements in the south Brooksville area. Those included seeking proposals to begin early engineering for improvements, a process needed to seek grants to assist with the work, and accepting an ordinance creating a special street lighting district in the unincorporated portions of the neighborhood.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.