Pasquotank County selling cardboard at below market rates
Landfill contract extended as officials eschew bid process
The matter of the landfill contract arose in regular order at the recent meeting of the Pasquotank County Finance Committee. Present were representatives of the current landfill contractor although none spoke.
We reported that County Commissioner Frankie Meads was denied the opportunity ask questions at the Solid Waste Committee meeting a week earlier. So it was quite curious that the contract renewal came up so soon.
Commissioner Meads asked questions about the landfill and its operations and made a motion to allow the contractor, and others, to bid the contract and that the county should prepare a new RFP for all other firms to submit bids, particularly in view of the large amount of money involved, projected to be in excess of $1million.
Most of the Commissioners asked questions of Commissioner Meads, but the most critical was Commissioner Dixon pertaining to what was being said at the time, but he was also critical of James Morris, a county citizen and frequent critic of the landfill operations.
Commissioner Dixon was particularly critical of Mr. Morris for all his requests for public documents that require County Staff time to retrieve. One such document request revealed that the county had given away 400 tons of recyclable cardboard over a six-month period, plus the costs of transporting this material to Bay Disposal in lower Currituck County, costing the taxpayers a great deal of money.
When this issue came up at the County Commissioners meeting, the County Manager remarked that we are now selling the cardboard, but no other details were provided. At the Finance Committee meeting, Commissioner Dixon was critical of the questioning about this matter as if giving away hundreds of dollars in cardboard was no big deal.
At one point in the discussions, Commissioner Perry remarked, repeatedly, that there was another “elephant in the room,” which appeared to suggest that the complaints were either racially motivated or that they were directed particularly toward the current director, an African American, rather than protecting the interests of the taxpayers.
In the end, the Commissioners voted to extend that contract for three more years without accepting bids from any other firms.
The matter of the landfill, its operations and efficiencies, or lack thereof, continue to be very contentious. This newspaper will continue to follow this story and keep our readers informed.
Subsequently, James Morris received an email from the county manager specifying that cardboard was sold to Bay Disposal at a rate of $12 per ton. Another email request about why we are now selling cardboard now, yet gave away 400 tons last year, went unanswered as of this writing.
A simple cost check by phone confirmed that cardboard could bring $45 per ton provided that it was not bailed. So why are we selling this recyclable material so much below market rates? We