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Rowan will keep taking Davie County trash

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
County commissioners have agreed to let Davie County continue bringing its waste to the Rowan County Landfill.
The tipping fee will increase by $3 per ton starting Sept. 1, but the resulting rate of $35 a ton is still less than the $39 per ton charged by other landfills.
Rowan County Manager Gary Page recommended continuing to accept Davie waste on a month-to-month basis.
While commissioners expressed concern about the accelerated pace of filling the county landfill, they agreed with Page’s recommendation that the additional waste from Davie County and the city of Salisbury makes for a more efficient landfill operation.
In a memo to commissioners, Page pointed out that due to the downturn in the economy, the past fiscal year was the lowest tonnage year at the landfill in the past three years.
From July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008, the landfill accepted a total of 112,000 tons of waste. That was down from 140,000 tons the previous year.
Page said that continuing to take Davie waste will keep the waste stream at a level that assures there will be no reduction in employees, increase in fees or reduction to county residents.
Page noted that of the estimated $1.3 million in net revenue for 2009, Davie County fees will represent approximately $900,000.
Officials pointed out that the extra dollars help pay for the county recycling program.
Commissioners took note of the decreasing life span of the landfill, which was opened in 1989. Five years ago, projections put the remaining life span of the landfill at 140 years. A couple of years ago, it dropped to 120 years.
With state-mandated changes that now allow construction debris in the lined landfill and acceptance of Salisbury and Davie County waste, the landfill is expected to last 90 years.
Commissioner Jim Sides pointed to the problems some future board will have in trying to find a new landfill site. Sides said there is no magic wand that will make waste go away.
Sides agreed to continue accepting Davie waste. He added, however, “We don’t want to send a message that we want out-of-county waste.”
Commissioner Tina Hall voiced concerns about increased traffic and trash from trucks going to the Campbell Road landfill.
In other business, the board:
– Briefly discussed a proposal to change the format of board meetings by designating one of the monthly sessions a work session during which no action would be taken. The proposal by Vice Chairman Chad Mitchell aims to give commissioners more time to research and discuss issues before having to vote.
Currently, commissioners receive agenda packets on Thursday and vote on Monday.
Commissioners made no decision, but expressed a willingness to try the new format. They also expressed concerns about how they would deal with emergency items that might arise.
– Set a Sept. 2 public hearing on a request by Robert Harris for a rezoning and conditional use permit for a 2,000-square-foot mini-warehouse on a 5.5-acre parcel at 1680 Long Ferry Road.
Harris is requesting the property be rezoned from rural agricultural to commercial business industrial.
– Approved the name “Kesler Pastures Road” for an unnamed road off the 4600 block of Stokes Ferry Road.
– Approved budget amendments, including one for $1.6 million that transfers money from the county’s fund balance to projects previously approved. Those projects include an EMS station in Salisbury, purchase of new emergency radios and more than a dozen others.

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