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County gives go ahead for first satellite waste station

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Suzette Cook, Reporter

The County Commission did not hesitate at the March 5 meeting to choose the site of the first of at least three future satellite waste stations.

As requested by the Board, Levy County Solid Waste Department Director Rod Hastings presented additional details about the list of proposed locations and what the materials, construction requirements, equipment and staff would cost per station. The average price tag per location, according to Hastings, will be $71,710 for construction and equipment and $20,000 to staff the facility at least three days a week.

Hastings estimated that the initial cost to get three stations up and running would total $215,130 “turnkey and get three of them on the ground running.”

Once open, Hastings said the operating costs would drop significantly. “Once you get past that first year it will drop off to $20,000 per site,” he said.

While Hastings did his due diligence and came prepared with specific budget items, the Board had few questions about those detail, they just wanted to know how soon they could be built.

It was Commissioner Mike Joyner who asked, “If we start on one today, how long would it take to get it going?”

Hastings replied, “If you give me permission right now to make a call and get these containers ordered, I could probably have them in two and a half months. In the meantime, we could be prepping the ground and getting the chain link (fence) and everything.”

County Finance Officer Jared Blanton then told the Board that the Hastings has access to $300,000 in his department reserves and offered that “you can go general fund reserves to purchase the initial outlay stuff also.”

Commissioner Lilly Rooks asked which sites Hastings was looking at, and he reminded her of the list they looked at previously. After discussion about the properties that would need to be leased, the Board turned to the properties that were already owned by the County.

The Board narrowed it down to the 8-Mile location near Shell Mound off of 347. The property was once used as a landfill and is just under 11 acres. Hastings had already recommended the site at the Feb. 19 meeting because it is located 10 miles from Cedar Key and it would draw from Rosewood, Cedar Key, and Fowlers Bluff.

Commissioner Lilly Rooks also suggested 8-mile and Commissioner Matt Brooks agreed it made sense to build on a site that was County-owned. Brooks also suggested a staggered roll out of the stations and Commission Chair John Meeks agreed that made sense. “Do one this year and two next year,” he said.

Commissioner Rooks made the motion to make the 8-mile dump site as the first location. And it was seconded and then approved unanimously.

Hastings left the meeting with a to-do list. “Fencing, get lime rock brought in, get prep work done, power brought in, get containers set up,” he said.

“I think we’re in pretty good shape. It’s a start.”