SPSA to talk fees, restructuring

Published 9:47 pm Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Board of Directors of the Southeastern Public Service Authority will meet Wednesday to approve the authority’s budget for next year and to set a new tipping fee schedule.

Meanwhile, a series of dates is being recommended for a smooth transition before a new board appointed by Gov. Tim Kaine takes control of SPSA on Jan. 1.

The board will meet at the SPSA/Regional Office Building, located at 723 Woodlake Drive in Chesapeake, at 9:30 a.m. A 30-minute public comment period will precede any action by the board.

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The current board will vote on a proposed tipping fee of $170 per ton, which would be retroactive to Feb. 1. The tipping fee is an increase from the current rate of $104 per ton, but is significantly less than other proposals in the $200- to $300-range, thanks to an agreement between all eight member localities in SPSA to restructure its debt.

According to language in Wednesday’s meeting agenda, “the $170 (tipping fee) … will allow SPSA to meet its operations, debt service and ‘safety’ obligations, provided the economy does not continue to decline.”

Suffolk would be unaffected by the increase in tipping fees, because of an agreement that absolves the city of that cost in exchange for its hosting of the regional landfill.

A proposed timeline of action items for the existing board to follow will also be discussed.

SPSA spokesman Tom Kreidel said the existing board would need to act on the items in a timely manner “in order to hit the wickets set in place by the legislation,” which created the new board.

Kaine signed House Bill 1872 on March 30, overhauling SPSA’s current Board of Directors, which consists of an elected official from each member locality, and replacing it with citizens appointed by the governor.

According to the timeline, the current board should be hammering out a policy for ratifying any contracts worth more than $30,000, since the executive director of the new board will be barred from doing so.

The current board also should be drafting revisions to the authority’s bylaws, and meeting with consultants who will evaluate the capacity of the Suffolk landfill.

As for the appointment of a new board, the eight member localities are supposed to be looking for three candidates each to nominate to the governor by August. The governor would then select the new board in September, and orientation meetings would be held during the last three months of 2009.

SPSA was created in the 1970s to handle most of the garbage in South Hampton Roads. Eight communities – Isle of Wight and Southampton counties, and the cities of Suffolk, Franklin, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach – are served by SPSA.