SPSA talks host agreement

Published 10:58 am Friday, January 29, 2016

By Tracey Agnew
Suffolk News Herald

The Southeastern Public Service Authority met in closed session Wednesday about the authority’s potential host agreement with Suffolk if the authority continues past 2018.

The chairman of the board also appointed a committee to discuss the potential host agreement.

“It’s time to bring it to a head one way or another,” said Marley A. Woodall Jr., the chair of the board.

He appointed H. Taylor Williams IV of Franklin, Luke McCoy of Portsmouth and Eric Martin of Chesapeake to the committee, as well as Executive Director Rowland “Bucky” Taylor.

“The committee that was formed has been tasked to negotiate a good neighbor agreement and report back to the SPSA organization on Feb. 24, which is the next SPSA board meeting,” Williams said.

Suffolk is one of eight members of the regional trash authority. In exchange for hosting the landfill, it has received free trash disposal.

However, that will change in two years, when the use and support agreements the localities have with SPSA are set to expire. Other member communities, who paid some of the highest disposal costs in the nation in recent years, have said they will no longer participate if Suffolk once again gets such a “sweetheart deal,” as it’s been called.

Therefore, the proposed use and support agreements would be identical for each locality. Suffolk would have a separate host agreement that would outline responsibilities of all parties and the benefit Suffolk would receive.

The city has proposed it receive a host fee of $4 per ton delivered to the landfill, with a minimum of $1 million per year. It would pay the same tip fee as everyone else. The authority has countered with a revised agreement.

Suffolk City Manager Patrick Roberts voted against discussing the host agreement in closed session on Wednesday.

Also at the meeting, the board voted to direct Taylor to work with Suffolk to work out the details of a potential future cell at the landfill.

“Right now cells one through four are filled. We are still using cells five and six, but at some point in the future, cells five and six are going to be filled. We would need to go to the next cell, which would be cell number seven,” Williams added.

Dubbed Cell VII, the cell would extend the life of the landfill. Suffolk City Council approved a conditional use permit for the cell in 2007, but it expired in 2009 after no construction took place.