The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners heard updates to the proposed Covanta Energy contract to refurbish the county’s incinerator at its regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 15.
Joe Suleyman, county director of environmental management, explained the new 1.5-page termination provision in the contract.
“The main sticking point was flow control,” he said.
The addition would allow the county to terminate the contract if the county flow control system is successfully challenged in court along with 60 days notice and payment of outstanding fees.
If terminated, expenses would range from $1.5 to $3 million depending on whether or not the county used the facility as a transfer station or took over operating the facility.
Vice chairman Jason Thompson said he is not as comfortable with the path staff is taking now as he was before, specifically with the contract assuming the county would step in and take over the facility.
“The administration is not recommending to you that we get into the business,” county manager Chris Coudriet said.
The contract also includes a consolidated collection option, which would provide additional services to county residents.
The monthly cost for recycling, yard waste and garbage would be an average of $18.53 per household. Other local municipalities could also request to be included.
Commissioner Rick Catlin said environmental groups contacted him about the amount of dioxides that would be created by the sustainable energy facility and asked Suleyman to get a table together to show those numbers. The goal should be to not exceed Titan Cement’s permit levels, he said.
Commissioner Brian Berger was absent from the meeting. Coudriet asked the three present commissioners if the current contract is in the right ballpark. If not, Coudriet said he does not want staff or Covanta officials to continue working on it.
Chairman Jonathan Barfield and Thompson agreed the board needed to make a decision either way, but Catlin said it is the board’s job to continue to evaluate the terms.
“I’ve been elected to make decisions one way or the other,” Barfield said.
Commissioners will consider the updated contract on Nov. 13.
Before the Covanta presentation, board members heard three people speak for and one against the county providing drinking water, fire protection and other water services for the northeastern area of Futch Creek Road between Bald Eagle Lane and Saint Ives Place.
Catlin said the saltwater intrusion found in this area is starting to move along the coast.
The estimated $884,000 project, including $256,000 from fire service and $330,000 from the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, passed unanimously with applause from community members.
An assessment including a public hearing will be conducted following completion of the project in 2014.
The board also unanimously passed the rezoning and special use permit for an additional 45 one-bedroom units at The Apartments at Three Oaks on Market Street. No one signed up to speak during the public hearing.
The meeting ended with Thompson stating he is tired of people making excuses for Berger and Barfield stating that intimidation tactics used in full-page ads will not influence his vote.