SPSA finds alternative to doubling of tipping fee

Published 10:39 am Thursday, January 29, 2009

If you don’t like what’s going on with the Southeastern Public Service Authority, just wait a few minutes. It’s subject to change.

In a surprising move Wednesday, SPSA officials said they believe they have come up with a plan to restructure SPSA’s debt and keep the garbage tipping fee for member localities close to the current $104 per ton.

SPSA had scheduled a public hearing and vote Wednesday on a plan to more than double the tipping fee to $245 per ton, which would have been the highest tipping fee in the country. Officials canceled that vote late Tuesday after Chesapeake officials questioned whether the vote had been properly advertised as required by the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

According to Franklin’s SPSA delegate, Ward 1 City Councilman Barry Cheatham, SPSA has permission from Wachovia Bank to divert funds in a credit line it uses for capital improvements to an operating fund.

SPSA eight members voted unanimously Wednesday to use the credit line and pursue a course to investigate the debt restructuring.

“That may buy us the time we need to get through the fiscal year,” Cheatham said in a phone interview today.

He said now that confidence is high that SPSA won’t become insolvent in the coming months. The next step is figuring out SPSA’s best option for the future.

Cheatham said he’s pleased with the new developments.

“I’m hoping this is a start to a good working solution,” he said.

Read Friday’s print edition of The Tidewater News for more on this story.