By Bonnie Culverhouse
Members of the Webster Parish Police Jury are tired of talking trash. In fact, they’d like to get out of the business completely and are considering the sale of the parish-owned landfill.
Tuesday, the jury voted 11-0, with Allen Gilbert absent, to declare the landfill and expansion as surplus and accept sealed bids to purchase it. They had voted to sell it in a previous meeting.
“About 60 days from now, you will receive those bids in basically the same format as other things,” Parish Attorney Patrick Jackson explained. “We will open them up at a public meeting.”
Jackson said if the bids do not come in at the minimum, “you scrap it.”
After much discussion in an Environmental Committee meeting, prior to the regular jury meeting, $10 million was agreed as minimum bid.
“You’re looking at December to close the deal,” said juror Randy Thomas, head of the Environmental Committee.
Jury president Jim Bonsall said the jury is losing money with its present management contract.
“It costs us money every year to operate that landfill,” Bonsall said. “Today’s the day we need to decide if we’re going to do this.”
Republic Services currently has the contract, and Jackson said their newest proposal is “better than it was.”
“Just maintenance of the landfill road alone eats up that revenue stream,” he said. “My position is that free enterprise is better suited to manage this. We will continue to maintain the (landfill) road to the extent we need to.”
The police jury has been the sole owner of the landfill for more than 25 years. It operates off royalties generated by the landfill with some subsidy from a half-cent sales tax that is set.
Jackson, who said he is aware of companies interested in purchasing the landfill, also said revenue from that sales tax can be used for other roads and capital needs.
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