ASHEBORO – The Randolph County Board of Commissioners met Monday, Oct. 2, with various updates on waste management and fee schedules.
The board was presented with an update on their partnership with Waste Management through an annual report.
“Our original contract called for an upfront payment of $3.5 million, and that money was used to buy property at the mega site,” said Chairman Darrell Frye. “Our first full year, the contract called for a minimum annual payment of $1 million, and our first check was for $1,007,000. This year, in July, we received $1,742,616, and that money has been used in strategic planning issues and programs and services around the county. Literally from door-to-door, corner-to-corner in this county. It’s been a great benefit to this county.”
“Since 2014, after our original $3.5 million payment to the county, including that, Waste Management has made over $14 million in payments to Randolph County, and we’ve paid over $7 million in taxes over that period of time,” said Waste Management Governmental Relations Bob Peeler. “It adds up, and I think it makes a difference for all of Randolph County.”
The board then held a public hearing in order to amend the Waste Management Franchise Agreement Ordinance.
“The county adopted the waste management franchise ordinance in 2014, and we’ve modified it once before in 2019,” said Associate County Attorney Aimee Scotton. “Waste Management has requested for further modifications of the ordinance.”
The changes to the ordinance include that the property covered by the franchise will include the entire 190-acre landfill area, including both the eastern and western sides of the power line, updating the list of convenience centers that the county has in operation and increasing the projected useful life of the landfill to 25-30 years to reflect the use of the entire site.
“This does not change the overall footprint of the landfill,” Frye said. “It’s about 190 acres out of about 670 acres. That hasn’t changed. The issue was brought forward because there is 115 acres in front of the power lines and about 75 acres behind the power lines. So, for them to have access to everything that was agreed upon originally, those power lines have to be moved, and that could take several years. So it’s a matter of just getting that process started.”
Following the public hearing, the board approved the amendment, although a second vote must still take place for the ordinance to take effect due to state law.
The board then made updates to the Public Health fee schedule.
The first update was related to the environmental health fee schedule.
“Wastewater permitting is becoming more and more privatized,” said Environmental Health Director Wayne Jones. “So, there’s options now for citizens to be able to hire private consultants to obtain their wastewater permits. All of which goes through our department; some we have more oversight on than others. These fee changes are actually reductions in fees. If a citizen chooses to use a private party consultant, it reduces the workload we have to put into those particular sites and therefore the reduction in fees.”
The second was related to the cost of COVID-19 vaccines.
“When the COVID-19 vaccine came on the scene in December of 2020, the federal government provided that to health departments at no cost,” said Public Health Director Tara Aker. “Now we are beyond the public health emergency, and with the end of that comes the end of all that federal aid. This brought the privatization of the COVID-19 vaccine. That means if we’re going to offer the COVID-19 vaccine, we have to pay for it, and if we have to pay for it, we need to add a fee to our fee schedule.”
The new fee will be $150 per dose for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Finally, the board approved the addition of a County Infrastructure Coordinator position to the classification plan.
“In the past 10 years, the role of our county government has changed in so many ways to address the growth of Randolph County to issues like the pandemic and COVID,” said County Manager Hal Johnson. “The role of our agencies has changed, but one of the areas that is impacting Randolph County the greatest and the role of county government the greatest is going to be infrastructure and the county government’s role in the provision of infrastructure into areas that were previously unserved.”
According to Johnson, the position will be responsible for working and coordinating water and sewer construction projects that are ongoing – and will be ongoing for many years – and working with the county engineer and the assistant county manager in coordinating the complex water and sewer planning programs.
“The water and sewer projects have a lot of moving parts and it requires daily attention,” Frye said. “We certainly believe this position is warranted. This is a much needed position for us.”