Trash makes for big bucks

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 24, 2002

Features Editor

If the City of Brundidge agrees to extend the landfill permit of Browning Ferris Industries (BFI) to include all states east of the Mississippi River, the city could pocket $1 million a year or more.

Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage said he is all for extending the request by BFI because it would mean more revenue and more jobs for the city.

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"BFI had first requested that we extended their permit from 17 counties to include all of Alabama, Florida and Georgia," Ramage said. "They rescinded that request and changed it to include all states east of the Mississippi. That could mean a much larger income string for the city."

BFI owns and operates a Subtitle D landfill in Brundidge and is seeking to increase the volume of sanitary garbage brought to the landfill by increasing its territory.

"That would provide more stability for BFI and for the city," Ramage said. "Many of these garbage contracts are done on a bid basis. We won’t get all of them, but we won’t lose all of them either. That would mean more stability for the city and for BFI. If they are successful; we will be successful."

The mayor said city officials have done their homework in considering the request.

"We went to look at a similar operation in Taylor County, Ga.," he said. "Their landfill is permitted to include anywhere and the county gets in excess of $1 million dollars a year from it."

Ramage said he believes the high side of the numbers for Brundidge would be in the six figure range, but there is always the possibility that in a good year, the city coffer could bank $1 million.

"Garbage is big business," he said, adding however, that big garbage business could be conducted in Brundidge in such a way that it would hardly be noticed.

"The landfill in Taylor County is clean and there is no noise and it would be the same here," he said. "The garbage is brought in by rail and it’s in large, sealed metal containers. The containers are loaded onto truck and taken to the landfill. They are not opened until they are on the landfill site."

Ramage estimated that no more than six or eight containers would be brought to the landfill a day.

"We are working with the railroad to find a suitable site for unloading the containers," he said. "They are unloaded with a crane so we have to find a place where there is room to operate a crane and load big trucks."

The mayor said although the extended landfill will shorten the life of the landfill from 100 years to about 50, it is still good business for Brundidge.

"The new money will make it possible for us to improve services for our citizens and new jobs will provide income for our community," he said. "I see this as a good thing."

Before a final decision is made, the citizens of Brundidge will have an opportunity to express their views on the request by BFI.

A public hearing has been set for 10 a.m. April 22 at city hall so that citizens may ask questions and/or express concerns about the BFI’s request to expand its permit from 17 Alabama counties to all states east of the Mississippi River.

Brundidge citizens are encouraged to attend.