Delay on town’s drop site irks some on council

An update Tuesday on the effort to finally get the town’s new large item drop site up and running didn’t sit well with some on Pulaski Town Council.

Town Manager Shawn Utt reported to council that he had met last Friday with County Administrator Jonathan Sweet about moving the drop site project forward, and on how to provide Pulaski area residents with a site in which to bring brush so they won’t have to continue transporting it to either the Dublin or Fairlawn drop sites.

Utt told council the easiest approach to get something happening on the issue now is to move the trash portion of the drop site from Dora Highway to the town-owned property off Lafayette Avenue behind the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office; and then find a temporary site for brush.

This, Utt explained, would give the town time to work out a solution with the Honeywell company which owns land next to the town’s property.

The town’s land off Lafayette was donated by Honeywell.  A plan was drawn up by the county’s Public Service Authority for a new drop site on that land that would replace the Dora Highway site and accept brush.

However, the plan requires more land than the town owns at the site, and the town is hoping to secure more land from Honeywell to place the entire drop site operation at that location.

So far, the town has gotten nowhere in pursuing the matter with Honeywell. In the meantime, town residents must transport their brush to Dublin or Fairlawn.

Utt said the issue would be taken back to the PSA to be put on their meeting agenda for August.

He said the PSA is focusing on the Fairlawn drop site right now, noting it had recently leased additional land near the site from the Peppers Ferry Regional Waste Water Treatment Authority to expand the Fairlawn site significantly to about six acres.

“I’m hoping we don’t get left behind,” Utt said to council.

“Realistically, based on these conversations, we probably won’t have anything for our citizens until mid- to late-fall,” stated Councilman Joseph Goodman.

Utt responded spring is more likely.  “There’s a lot of dirt that has to be brought in – fill material,” Utt said. “A realistic estimate would be six months of work.”

Saying the town needs to find a short-term solution, Goodman said the county’s PSA has “insulted” the town for four or five years now on the drop site issue.

“Now they’re going to put money into Fairlawn and get that done while we continue to languish, waiting for them to make a decision,” he said.

“At what point can we just do it and send them a bill,” Goodman asked.

Utt said, even if the town moved ahead on its own, it would still take a couple of months of work.

“We can try to see if we can get on their July agenda instead of August,” Utt offered.

“It would be good to advance it,” Goodman said. “The citizens of this town are talking about it. They are frustrated by the fact they must waste their time driving to Dublin. It costs them time, money for fuel. Some don’t have trucks and it becomes more of a project to figure out how they’re going to get their brush there as opposed to making a couple short trips to a site here in town.”

According to Utt, Sweet said he is hearing complaints from people from Robinson Tract, Draper and areas south of Claytor Lake who would consider Pulaski’s drop site as their first stop rather than driving to Dublin or Fairlawn.

Goodman continued that a lot of people in town are starting to think the county has forgotten about them. “They’re wondering what they’re paying county taxes for, and they starting to believe the county doesn’t want to do anything for them. It’s insulting. We’ve been waiting four or five years. Sure, what’s another six months. But if they’re putting money into Fairlawn, why can’t they wait and do the project that’s been on the horizon for years.”

Utt said a temporary solution would be to move the trash portion of the Dora Highway site to the Lafayette Avenue site, and have brush taken to one of a handful of possible sites in town.

The brush site, however, must be a manned site, Utt said. The tub grinder used to grind up brush is owned by the New River Resource Authority.  A while back it was damaged by a piece of metal that was ground up along with brush. Utt said the NRRA now requires someone to observe the brush as it is unloaded to ensure no metal is mixed in.

Utt said a part time employee could be hired to man the site.

Goodman suggested letting the PSA foot the bill.

“Even if they just operated it one day a weekend. People would be happier than they are now,” Goodman said, noting that in three weeks it will be leaf season and the problem will get worse.