By Bonnie Culverhouse
The answer to the question: to sell or not to sell, is getting closer for members of the Webster Parish Police Jury.
Opening of sealed bids for purchase of the Webster Parish Landfill will take place at 2 p.m. Monday, August 30 in the jury meeting room in the courthouse annex.
Jurors hosted a pre-bid meeting recently to answer questions from potential buyers for the property.
Three interested persons attended the meeting, while others participated via Zoom.
Some of the interested potential bidders include Madden Contracting Co. of Minden, Greenway Environmental Services, Republic Services and Live Oak Environmental, LLC.
Most of the questions, emailed and asked in person, centered around the current contract with Republic Services and what it will take for them to exit their contract, as well as the amount of tonnage the landfill accepts and the permits.
Some emailed questions covered a 10-year history of financials and waste tonnage by type.
While the police jury has owned the landfill for more than 25 years, they have not operated it since 1997. Since that time, it has always been operated by a private company.
Webster Parish Police Jury President Jim Bonsall wants to ensure local residents understand the truth about trash.
The jury has owned the landfill, which covers around 420 acres – for more than 25 years, and only recently entertained the idea of selling it.
“There is a 25-year operating contract, starting with USA Waste, then Allied and Republic most recently,” Bonsall said.
“There may have been another company in there somewhere.”
Republic bought Allied and with it, the contract, which Bonsall describes as “terrible.”
Since Republic’s contract expires next year, it seemed a good time to consider selling the landfill, as it is costing the jury money. Bonsall said the jury has been negotiating a new contract with Republic for almost three years, and the company has been transparent and working with them has been easy.
“We negotiated and negotiated, but I don’t think they are offering us enough money to renew the contract,” he said. “We are at a standstill.”
The jury receives a royalty of 5 percent of Republic’s gross receipts at the landfill, which includes the Sarepta receiving station, although Bonsall said the people living in that area haul their trash to that location and do not pay a fee. In fact, no residents pay fees at any location – only businesses with a certain amount of tonnage.
“I don’t believe they are offering us enough royalties, or I would be in favor of renewing the contract,” Bonsall said. “That’s the only hang-up I’ve got. If we do work out a contract with them, it will be for a lot shorter period.”