8/3/20: MEETING TOMORROW: TOWN COUNCIL ON VERGE OF BRINGING TRUE RECYCLING BACK TO SOUTHERN SHORES.  

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After the Town arrives at an agreement with Bay Disposal to restore transport of its curbside recycling to an actual recycling center, not an incinerator, the Town would be well-advised to consider an education campaign to inform both residents and visitors about which materials are recyclable and which are not. 

The Town Council is on the verge of restoring true curbside recycling in Southern Shores after allowing Bay Disposal, LLC, to haul residents’ recyclables for eight months to a Portsmouth, Va. facility for incineration.

If the Council approves at its meeting tomorrow a draft amended contract between the Town and Bay Disposal—formerly known as Bay Disposal & Recycling, LLC—and both parties sign it, Bay Disposal will start taking Southern Shores’ recycling to a materials recycling facility (MRF) in Portsmouth owned by Recycling and Disposal Solutions (RDS), Inc.

For the RDS arrangement to go forward, the Council also must approve a fiscal year 2020-21 budget amendment of $5,701 to cover additional costs.

The Town Council is currently scheduled to meet tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. in the Pitts Center. The public may attend in person or join a Zoom videoconference.

Agenda: https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/wp-content/uploads/minutes-agendas-newsletters/Agendas_2020-08-04.pdf

Meeting packet: https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/wp-content/uploads/minutes-agendas-newsletters/Meeting-Packet_2020-08-04.pdf

Since last December, when Tidewater Fibre (TFC) Recycling of Chesapeake stopped accepting its Outer Banks recyclables because of contamination, Bay Disposal has been taking Southern Shores’ recyclables to Wheelabrator, a waste-to-energy facility that burns most of them.

A recycling specialist with the N.C. Dept. of Environmental Quality told The Beacon this spring that although Wheelabrator burns most recyclables it receives, it actually recycles metal materials. If it did not, the specialist said, it would be illegal under N.C. law for Bay Disposal to transport any recyclables there.

The N.C. DEQ identified RDS’s facility as an alternate disposal site for Outer Banks recyclables and was hopeful that RDS would build a new MRF in Elizabeth City. The recycling company, which has offices in Virginia Beach and Roanoke, Va., never found a suitable building to buy to do so, however, according to the recycling specialist.

Then-Interim Town Manager Wes Haskett reported at the Council’s May 5 meeting that he had heard from a “representative” of TFC that the Chesapeake recycling company would be willing to resume processing Southern Shores’ curbside recycling at a rate of $95 per ton, excluding collection and delivery. The Town Council rejected this offer as too expensive.

Instead, Town Manager Cliff Ogburn and Deputy Town Manager/Planning Director Haskett have worked with Town Attorney Ben Gallop on a revision of the contract that the Town has with Bay Disposal, with the understanding that Bay Disposal would transport Southern Shores recyclables to RDS’s Portmouth recycling center.

The amended contract would allow Bay Disposal to take the Town’s recyclables to Wheelabrator or another waste-to-energy facility only if RDS’s Portsmouth facility or another recycling facility becomes unavailable.

(The Beacon has written extensively about the recycling crisis in Southern Shores since last December. For a summary, see The Beacon, 5/10/20.)

The draft contract revision before the Town Council tomorrow amends an original three-year contract between Bay Disposal and the Town that dates to June 15, 2018 and expires June 30, 2021.

Other terms of the contract, such as those pertaining to its breach and termination, also have been amended, because the original terms were incomplete and/or disadvantageous to the Town. The new contract specifies that renewal may occur only for additional one-year periods.

As of July 29, Bay Disposal was “reviewing the draft amended contract, and we are waiting on confirmation of acceptance,” Mr. Ogburn wrote in a summary of this agenda item for the Town Council’s meeting packet.

After the contract is settled and signed, The Beacon is hopeful that Mr. Ogburn will give some attention to a public-education effort to inform both residents and visitors about what is recyclable and what is not.

BEACH STUDY MONIES, DEBRIS REMOVAL

In other agenda business, the Town Council is expected to amend the current fiscal year budget to pay Coastal Protection Engineering of North Carolina, Inc.—formerly known as APTIM—more monies for beach profiling, and to approve a debris monitoring contract with Thompson Consulting, LLC, whom Dare County identified as the low bidder in a Request for Proposal it released.

The debris monitoring contract that the Town would have “mirrors” the one that Dare County has with Thompson, according to Mr. Ogburn’s meeting summary.

For the town to maintain its Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimbursement for debris removal, it must monitor its debris removal operations, Mr. Ogburn explains in his written overview.

Monitoring “requires comprehensive observation and documentation of debris removal work performed from the point of debris collection to final disposal,” the Town Manager writes.

(Many thanks to our new Town Manager for the item summaries that he is writing for the Town Council’s meeting packet. These well-written, dated summaries explain the background of an agenda item; give the Town Staff’s recommendation on the item; and indicate the action that the Town Staff is requesting from the Council. They are a great asset to the public.)

Coastal engineer CPE-NC seeks $18,039 to prepare a 2020 beach profile analysis and report based on “profile data” it has already acquired. Profiling looks at shoreline and sand-volume changes.

Although it is well-known that East Coast beaches are at their widest in July and August, CPE-NC collected its data for purposes of evaluating the current status of the Southern Shores coastline before June 30. It did the same last year, with its May analysis.

CPE-NC’s initial 2017 study was conducted in December, when the beaches are their most eroded. They restore themselves in the summertime, according to all of the coastal environmental experts interviewed by The Beacon for past articles.

The Beacon questions the need for an annual beach profile study this year. Not only is short-term assessment of the coastline of little value, the Town has decided to do beach nourishment in 2022, regardless of the state of the coastline.

The Town Council previously authorized an appropriation of $17,357 to CPE-NC for the “profile data acquisition,” $5,208 of which was not dispensed during last year’s fiscal year budget and must be added to the current fiscal year budget. Thus, the Town is spending more than $35,000 on its 2020 beach profile and will likely pay for another profile next year.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

There will be two public-comment periods during the Town Council’s meeting, one before the Council takes up any business on the agenda and the second after it finishes its business. You may speak for up to three minutes in person at the meeting or email written comments to Town Clerk Sheila Kane to be read aloud by the Mayor or the Mayor Pro Tem. You also have the option of speaking for up to three minutes via Zoom.

To send written comments, email Ms. Kane at skane@southernshores-nc.gov. Be sure to include your name and address and indicate in the email subject line: “Public comment for Town Council meeting, 8/4/20.”

If you participate by Zoom, you may press the chat button during the meeting to tell Ms. Kane that you would like to speak during one or both of the public-comment periods.

The meeting ID on Zoom is 929 2956 6855; and the passcode is 576193.

 Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 8/3/20

 

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