Amherst admin

Amherst County administration building, 153 Washington St., Amherst. File photo

As Amherst County prepares for the construction of a new transfer station to dispose of waste by hauling it outside the county, the project will not go through the board of supervisors’ building committee in the interest of speeding up the process.

The board agreed by consensus at its May 21 meeting for the project to skip the committee’s review process, though committee members Claudia Tucker and Kenneth Campbell can sit in on the process and offer input.

“We’re not trying to cut anybody out, we’re simply trying to speed the process up because we really do need to get the project obligated and under construction by May of next year,” County Administrator Dean Rodgers told supervisors. “That’s a real challenge.”

The board voted 4-1 in March, with Supervisor David Pugh opposed, to pursue building a new station, an enclosed facility estimated at $2.2 million to be constructed on the county’s 280-acre landfill site on Kentmoor Farm Road in Madison Heights. In choosing that option, supervisors authorized the planned closure of the county’s landfill. Pugh has said he is against closing the landfill, which he feels is an asset to the county that should stay in place.

The county borrowed $4 million for the purpose of expanding a new cell of the landfill through 2037 and can use leftover money to go toward the county’s other solid waste convenience centers, Rodgers has said. The county has until May 2020 to have that money substantially spent in accordance with its borrowing agreement, according to Rodgers.

Draper Aden Associates, a Lynchburg-based firm, currently is developing concept plans for the new station. The county’s goal is to provide at least the same level of service to county residents as currently is provided at the level, according to a staff report presented to supervisors last week.

Chairman Jimmy Ayers agreed with not assigning the project to the building committee. He said it is a “pretty straightforward” project that shouldn’t be held up as the county looks to meet its May 2020 timeframe.

“It’s my feeling we need to move as quickly as we can,” Ayers said.

The county handles 24,600 tons of trash annually and using a transfer station is expected to require less manpower and does not have the regulatory challenges as expanding a landfill, Rodgers has said.

Trucks would be used to process waste and haul it to a location outside the county. The county would look for the lowest bidder in making a decision about where to haul the trash, he said.

Campbell said he plans to sit in on staff discussions about moving the station forward to offer his “two cents” but he doesn’t believe there is need for formal committee review and delaying the project.

“This is about as simple as it comes,” Campbell said of the station.

Pugh said last week he favors configuring the station so the landfill could be used if it was deemed necessary down the road.

Rodgers said the station would not be built on the location of a cell area where the landfill expansion would have taken place. A transfer station gives the county the most flexibility to find the least expensive method of disposing waste, he said.

The landfill will be closed and capped at some point.

“But we will hang on to the permit so we can reopen it if need to,” Rodgers said.

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