SWA discusses recycling, grant application in special meeting
In a special meeting last Thursday, the Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority met with environmental resources specialists Carol Throckmorton and Nicole Hunter, from the West Virginia Solid Waste Management Board, and talked about the SWAs recent performance review.
"One section of our agency has been charged with going out and doing performance reviews, it's sort of an audit," said Throckmorton. "They look at the whole program. The reason for that is that you are multi-million dollar operations. Before, no one had oversight for those dollars. We did not have any authority to go in and say 'we want to go in and look at your operation.' The law changed. The legislature gave a section of our board the authority to go into every solid waste authority with a landfill, to see how these tax dollars are being spent. The objective was really not to penalize, but to correct. You guys came out great. In the performance review, she [auditor Jan Borowski] talked a little about recycling, what the situation was now, and she said 'would the solid waste authority please work with us when you put the bid back out?' So here we are."
Throckmorton and Hunter made suggestions for handling the bidding process to expand the county's recycling program. They recommended a "request for proposal" for recycling services, rather than a bid, as the board has done in the past.
"In previous years you have put out a bid and you've never really gotten back anything. We're suggesting you go for a request for proposal based on what your needs are," recommended Throckmorton. "That way vendors come in and tell you what they can do, what they're not able to, what it'll cost, those types of things."
"With an RFP, you are laying out guidelines," explained Hunter. "As a board, this is what we'd like to have in our program, this is what we'd like to have provided by our vendor. You get more options with a request for proposal."
The SWMB specialists provided board members with an RFP model that has been used by other solid waste authorities throughout the state.
Throckmorton made suggestions on how the board can best proceed with a state Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan grant application. In 2012, the SWA received $40,542 to purchase trailers and educational pamphlets for its recycling program through the REAP grant.
"Dollars are tighter, people are requesting more funds," said Throckmorton. "It's in your best interest to document what you need and why you need it, as accurately as possible. Solid waste authorities don't think that they have to get as detailed in the request because they think they're writing it for us. In actuality, they send them to us, but we present them to a board just like you. Our board has questions, just like you. You have to write the grant for people who know nothing about your program. We're happy to help you with the grant application so that it's as detailed as it needs to be."
According to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection website, "theﾠRehabilitation Environmental Action Plan strives to clean up West Virginia and rid the state of unsightly litter. The initiative harbors all of the state cleanup programs within the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. REAP is a powerful force in the campaign against illegal dumping and littering. REAP focuses on cleanup efforts from both program staff and volunteers statewide. In a unique partnership, the program empowers citizens to take ownership of their communities by providing technical, financial, and resource assistance in cleanup efforts."
The SWMB personnel also did a walkthrough of some of the county collection sites, and were impressed with what they saw.
"Nicole and I today took the opportunity to go around the county, a couple of your locations," said Throckmorton. "We went to the one in Marlinton and we went to Caesars Mountain. The two locations we looked at were very clean, and the material was all very clean."
The Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority is scheduled to meet again at its regular meeting Wednesday, April 25, at 7 p.m. at the Pocahontas County Courthouse.