'We said we’d had enough'

Zoe Greszler • Updated Apr 3, 2018 at 2:29 PM

Erie and Huron Counties are parting ways with their trash disposal partnership after things “weren’t getting done.”

“For more than eight years, the two counties enjoyed the benefits of a successful agreement to dispose Huron County generated solid waste at Erie County’s Landfill,” stated a prepared statement from the Erie County commissioners. “However, with minimal notice, Huron County took action to end that arrangement last week.”

Erie County commissioner said the partners’ previous contract had an agreed upon rate of $26.48 per ton for disposal this year, with that price going up just slight to $26.58 per ton in 2019.

The Huron County Commissioners this week entered into a short-term contract with Rumpke Waste, a private waste contractor in Richland County, paying $28 per ton.

“Erie County officials were told that public bids will be taken in the future, and Huron County would welcome another bid from (Erie County),” the statement said. 

“Given the economic loss suffered by Erie County by this abrupt breach of our contract; Erie County rebidding a contract they already have would be difficult to imagine. While the Erie County commissioners are obviously disappointed and dismayed at Huron County’s decision, we wish to extend our gratitude for the partnership of the last eight years.”

Huron County commissioners, though, said this isn’t the full story.

“We did just end it last week,” Commissioner Terry Boose said. “However, we did have discussions with Erie County, letting them know we were unhappy with the service before that.”

“I’m a little bit surprised they said we didn’t really let them know because we’ve been in discussions with them for the past two months at least, I’d say,” Boose continued. “They came back with a contract with a different hauler at a higher price. At that point, we went out and looked for a different contract because (it was cheaper) and things weren’t getting done.”

Commissioner Skip Wilde said it was an “issue of non-performance” that was causing problems for Huron County.

“It’s very complicated,” Wilde said. “There was a whole lot more to it. … We said we’d had enough. They were getting a new hauler and we decided we were looking at other bids. It was an issue of non-performance. Things were to be done and they didn’t happen. We’d had enough.”

Boose agreed.

“We were in contract with a company hired by Erie County Solid Waste District; they let them out of the contract,” he said. “We had issues with (the company) the last three weeks especially. Our plan moving forward is this — we didn’t sign long-term contract with Rumpke; we just have a short term contract.

“We need the transfer station emptied and cleaned every night and that wasn’t happening. This contract is for a few months. Then, in few months, we’ll go to bid again and we would really like to see a contact with Erie County in the future.”

In making this decision, the commissioners are looking out for Huron County, Boose said.

“We just wanted to get their attention that this is a serious matter for us,” he added.

“I think we did that,” Boose continued. “If they want to do that (get a contract together) in the very near future, they can sharpen their pencil and we can figure it out. But we had to do what was best for our county, for Huron County. I understand Erie County is taking a hit, but we’re here to look out for the Huron County residents and what’s best for our county. That’s our job.”

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