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$2.5M Landfill Project Goes to Quorum Court


The Mississippi County Quorum Court will consider a $2.5 million landfill project after it passed through both the landfill and finance committees on Monday afternoon.

The Mississippi County Landfill Committee approved the $2,287,775 bid of RL Persons Construction of Poplar Bluff, which was chosen over the only other bid of $2,991,486 from Century Construction of Tupelo, Miss.

Persons will construct Class 1 and Class 4 cells at the landfill if the Quorum Court approves the project next Tuesday night.

The winning bid does not include engineering fees or gravel - material that the county will purchase separately at its discounted rate.

According to Justice of the Peace Neil Burge, chairman of the Landfill Committee, Persons expects the construction of the cells to take 88 days, with a proposed start date of Nov. 4 and finish of March 4.

"This is a pretty big project," Burge said.

The new planned cells are in the proposed 2020 Landfill budget, which proposes $5,116,325 in expenses versus $3.2 million revenue, a deficit of about $2 million.

Burge said the county anticipates a carryover of about $2 million from 2019 that would cover the shortfall.

"It will be a close year, but we can do it," Burge said.

County Judge John Alan Nelson added, ""It will be tight," but the county is taking measures to keep other costs down at the landfill.

"We have a financial plan," Burge said. "The plan is we hope that we are going to be able to pay for it. If everything goes well, we anticipate ending up the year with about $2 million, maybe a little over. The work will not all be due at one time. We are hoping that we will have the money to pay for it as the work is completed and as the draws are made."

If not, then the committee would ask the quorum court to move money from county general.

Justice of the Peace Michael White noted the landfill has borrowed a substantial amount from county general previously and paid it back promptly.

"We don't want to have to do that," Burge said. "I think if we are very careful with our money - and we anticipate being very careful with our money - we think we're going to be able to squeeze through."

Burge added the landfill must keep about $250,000 in operating money.

During the Landfill Committee meeting, White asked about plans on closing the old Class 1 and 4 cells

Burge said the Class 4 is still used, but once the county stops, the 18-month clock starts.

"We've been way over 18 months on the old Phase 1, but we have done a lot of corrective work on it," Burge said. "To be honest about it, we're just hoping that they don't press us too much on that."

White said usually if the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality sees progress, it is lenient.

Burge said the landfill is in compliance.

Also, Burge said the county caught a break in being allowed to put a Class 4 on top of an old trench area and former landfill. The county can't excavate the area but may build up.

"That means that we can construct a Class 4 over an area that couldn't be used for anything else anyway," Burge said. "I think that's an advantage for us."

He said the current cell is "reaching capacity pretty fast," and when that happens the county must have another cell ready to go.

Meanwhile, during the Finance Committee meeting, Judge Nelson noted the Solid Waste Management District agreed to pay for the $148,000 equipment that will replace dirt from being the daily cover, a moved expected to lower expenses and save air space.

Judge Nelson believes it will allow the landfill to reduce overtime as well.

White credited Judge Nelson and JT Harris with getting the funding.