With the Columbia-Marion County Airport’s runway expansion nearing, city officials must make a decision soon about where to relocate the rubbish pit next to the airport.
During Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting, City Engineer Sean Burns recommended a temporary location at the county’s transfer facility, which is on Mississippi 586 on 16th Section land leased from the county school district.
“You’ll have some investment in the front end, but the good thing is that if for whatever reason it’s not working out in a year or so, you can abandon that idea and go build another rubbish pit,” he said. “Our opinion is that a rubbish pit is not the way to go, but if y’all want to go in that direction and permit it, we’ll help you.”
The transfer station is where the city already takes its garbage to then be transferred to a landfill in another county. The rubbish pit, on the other hand, accepts things like limbs and construction debris.
Alderman-at-Large Edward Hough asked about where at the transfer facility they would locate the rubbish pit, and Burns said an area out to the left of the transfer station would be most ideal.
He said the process to get a permit would be “pretty simple” and they may have to put up some fencing and do some dirt work.
Hough asked about private individuals taking items to the facility, and Burns answered that they could, the same as the current operation on Airport Road.
“Your limbs and brush will be put in one pile, and tires will be sent to the transfer station,” he said. “Things like shingles will have to go to the transfer station. Your billing will be like it is right now between the city and the transfer station. This would strictly be a temporary site. If you were to go that direction and you tried it, you could always go back and permit a rubbish pit. If you wanted to open one now, we’d have to find a site and get it permitted.”
Currently, it costs the city about $160,000 to operate the rubbish pit on Airport Road.
“The average annual cost of a processing facility would be around $125,000,” Burns said. “I don’t think you would have to have as much equipment out there as you do at the rubbish pit. You’re basically moving it around and sorting it. The biggest thing you’re looking at as having one person there who is very visible and managing it, moving the stuff and getting it to where it needs to be.”
Mayor Justin McKenzie addressed the timetable on making a decision.
“I’ve got to have something to show that we’re moving forward by the June deadline,” he said. “I need to have something concrete and that we’re closing that and fulfilling our obligation so that the FAA will continue to pay their portion in. Otherwise, we’re jeopardizing the funding. It doesn’t have to be closed and sealed over by the end of June, but there has to be a plan of action in place and we’ve got to be taking whatever measures we need to get it moved.”
The Board will continue its discussions at an upcoming meeting. The next regularly scheduled meeting is set for 4 p.m. Jan. 16 at City Hall.