CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- At a Tuesday meeting, Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority board members toyed with ideas to generate income from the old county landfill in Cross Lanes.
When the landfill was closed in the 1990s, the Solid Waste Authority ended up in possession of the property. Authority board member Greg Sayre said only about half of the 50-acre property owned by the authority is actually made up of the landfill.
"Is it something we can sell?" Sayre asked. "Is it something we can timber?"
In March, the solid waste board voted to shut down the Slack Street Recycling Center because of safety concerns in the century-old building they were using to sort recyclables. The center has since reopened on a limited basis, but incoming materials and revenues have been slashed. Cities who used to bring their material to Slack Street are now going to Nitro or Beckley.
Sayre also said the Solid Waste Authority still has about $250,000 in an escrow account set up when the landfill was closed. State officials won't release the account until 2018, but Sayre wondered if there is a way to get the money earlier.
The authority lost about $30,000 in July. Last week, the authority took its last load of office paper under a contract to take recyclables from state offices.
Under the contract, the authority paid the state to take office paper but was able to make a profit reselling the materials. When Slack Street shut down, the deal made less sense, and the authority was unable to keep picking up state office paper after laying off half the recycling staff last month.
Diane Holley-Brown, spokeswoman for the state Purchasing Division, said state officials will rebid the contract to take the state's paper. In the meantime, individual state offices are on their own to find someone to take their recyclables.
Jeannie Gunter, Kanawha's interim solid waste director, said some offices are still bringing their paper to Slack Street. But members of the authority aren't interested in trying to get the state contract back if it means losing money.
Until a better solution can be found, solid waste officials are sending their office paper to Beckley. Gunter said the recycling program made about $7,700 from paper by taking it to Beckley in July, but spent about $6,000 in fuel, salaries and tolls to get it there. And she had to spend about $700 more when a truck blew a tire.
"The bottom line is, Beckley is just break-even," said board member Rod Watkins. He said the Solid Waste Authority could end up losing money taking material to Beckley.