The Moore County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an amended three-year contract extension Tuesday with Republic Services that will substantially change how waste collection services are billed in the future.
Solid Waste Director David Lambert initially presented the new billing model to county leaders earlier this month. He explained that the terms of the agreement better align with the industry standards and will provide consistency of billing at the Moore County landfill.
“In my judgement, this is the best value,” he said.
As approved, Moore County will now be responsible for billing all customers, including municipalities, for municipal solid waste that is brought to the landfill off N.C. 5 for processing. Lambert said this change will improve transparency and make it easier to project revenue and expenditures, increasing rate predictability for customers.
Currently, Moore County solid waste employees track waste tonnage that is brought into the landfill using two separate accounting systems; one for regular household type garbage that is handled by Republic Services and one for the county waste related to construction and demolition, leaf and limb and other materials at the landfill. The Moore County Finance Department then bills customers for all Moore County related charges and Republic Services directly bills its customers for using the county’s transfer station services.
Lambert said Moore County is not able to recover expenses it incurs from this operational model because the rate is set independently by Republic Services. Instead he recommended a new system with Moore County directly billing all customers for the use of the transfer station.
The contract amendment will significantly increase expenses to Moore County, estimated at around $2 million above the current rate; but it also creates a new equal revenue source that offsets those costs.
“This does not alter the current fee schedule for customers but it allows Moore County to capture lost expenses,” Lambert said, during his initial presentation on Feb. 2. “We want to create predictability and accountability...We can have better control of what materials go in the landfill and what goes through the transfer station.”
In addition, Lambert said the amended contract puts Moore County in a more favorable position for future waste collection management contracts.
“There will be a lot of changes in solid waste in the next ten years, and in doing that, we need to have time to figure out what approach to have. This will give more time to figure out our strategy and normalize the process,” he said.
Under the new contract, Moore County will be billed at the current rate acceleration schedule, which is approximately 3 percent lower than the commercial rate Republic Services charges other customers. Municipal customers will not see costs rise beyond the standard annual increase, Lambert said, and the agreement maintains the existing recycling processing and facility maintenance agreement.