Charleston County SWA recycling contract could be cancelled after not living up to expectations

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County officials could decide to cut its losses and kill a recycling contract with Charleston County later this week.

The solid waste authority made an agreement to take the lowcountry’s recyclables last summer, with the anticipation that it would bring in nearly $1.5 million.

However, it’s been the opposite, the county lost money and is running a deficit of more than $60,000 on the fiscal year so far.

The chairman of Horry County’s Infrastructure and Regulations committee, Johnny Vaught, recently met with leaders from the Solid Waste Authority to request a clearer picture on the added expenses associated with the deal.

“I’m not above asking them to shut down that contract in 60 days if it looks like we’re going to continue to lose money,” said Vaught.

Charleston County’s cardboard and other recyclables gets trucked into Horry County, which then processes and sells the usable material.

“The gist of the whole deal was that the Solid Waste Authority and thus, Horry County could not lose money on this contract,” said Vaught.

The I&R Committee reviews the contract each month, “I’m not sure that it could have ever made the million and a half dollars, I’m really not, based on the way things panned out,” said Vaught.

He questioned the impact the Charleston deal was having on expenses and tasked the SWA to present a crystal clear picture of how the contract is impacting the county.

“We’re going to have an executive summary of the whole package. You won’t have to dig through a mess of spread sheets to find the numbers we’re looking for. I specified exactly what I want to see – where we stand,” said Vaught.

Vaught says the SWA has been open about the contract and provided the county with all the numbers, “but I just want something that it is short and sweet that shows me where everything is going and where its coming from and why we’re losing money.”

Vaught says the deal was always going to be a work in progress; and is impacted by external factors like commodity prices, but points to a huge increase in processing costs from last year to this year.

“Rather than allocated all of them to the Charleston solid waste authority they were being allocated to us and yet they wouldn’t have been there if there hadn’t been a Charleston contract,” said Vaught.

The Solid Waste Authority will present full accounting to the Infrastructure and Regulations Committee at their monthly meeting this Thursday.

Vaught said the committee will look at the information and decide the best way to move forward. He said if the county can break even, they will continue trucking in Charleston County’s material.

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