ONLINE UPDATE: County spends about $800,000 during incinerator process

by Kelly Corbett
Thursday, November 8, 2012

During a New Hanover County project update at the commission agenda briefing on Thursday, Nov. 8, the total cost of the work throughout the incinerator process surfaced.

County manager Chris Coudriet said the county has spent a conservative amount of about $800,000 on both the proposed Covanta Energy contract and R3 Environmental, following a question by chairman Jonathan Barfield Jr.

The work on the Covanta proposal cost the county about $450,000 in legal fees and $100,000 in technical support, Coudriet said.

“Somewhere in that range, but that’s over the life of this Covanta project,” he said.

The proposal has been in the works for about a year, since it began in fall 2011.

He estimated the cost of the R3 process at about $270,000.

“I wouldn’t say it’s money wasted, because there’s a lot of knowledge we gained,” Coudriet said.

Vice chairman Jason Thompson said he could see both sides of the argument.

He said the county now knows where its asset is and just because the current board did not make a decision on the issue does not mean future boards would not be able to come to a consensus.

“It was an expensive endeavor, but it might not be all wasted,” Thompson said.

The Covanta decision is not on the agenda for the Tuesday, Nov. 13 meeting.

Coudriet said environmental management director Joe Suleyman is currently working with county staff on alternatives to the Covanta proposal.

“That issue is not being unattended to on our part,” Coudriet said.

In other county updates, the county’s new shore protection coordinator said the bids for the Carolina and Kure beach projects are in and the numbers look good.

He added there are no longer concerns about overages.

In mid-November, the county will mail out 4,000 surveys to citizens to see what they rank as the most important issues in the county.

The cost to mail the surveys is $14,800 plus an additional $900 if the county decides to place the survey online.

“This is money that was in the proposed budget,” Coudriet said.

The results of the survey will be shown to the new board members the end of December.

Coudriet said the county has not done an organized survey in about 10 years.

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