The Dare County Board of Commissioners opted not to change the winter trash schedule for unincorporated Dare County, which includes Hatteras Island, at their December 4 meeting.
The idea of a reduced trash pick-up schedule was proposed at the November 20 meeting as a possible way to save extra funds. The revised trash schedule would have changed the number of pick-ups for Hatteras Island from two to one per week for the months of November through March.
However, a detailed study presented by County Manager Bobby Outten revealed that the savings were not significant enough to make the change.
“At the last meeting, you asked us to come up with some data and information to see if this was feasible, and to see how it would work,” said Outten, referencing an 11 page packet of spreadsheets that was sent to the Commissioners on the previous Friday to review.
Researched over the course of two weeks, the study found that reducing the trash schedule from two trips to one trip weekly would save a total of roughly 31 trips for all of unincorporated Dare County.
“The methodology we used to do this is [that] we went through and figured out how many times we have to drive from the trash collection route to the dump and back each week under the current two-day-a-week schedule,” said Outten. “Then we took in the number of tons we deliver each week and put that on the sheet as well.”
Based on the 31 trips saved, Outten and his team determined that the schedule adjustment would save $381 in gas, and $4,711 in wear and tear to the trucks, for a total savings of approximately $5,500.
“You have to tell us if that is a significant enough number to make the change or not,” he said.
The commissioners determined that it wasn’t.
“Obviously, you have done some extensive research and that was the whole principal behind this [proposition] coming out of our workshop,” said County Commissioner Chairman Bob Woodard. “We would be remiss if we didn’t go through this exercise as a board on a periodic basis. It’s been a number of years since we’ve done this and looked into this, and we have a due diligence to our constituents to see if there’s an opportunity to save any costs.”
“As far as I’m concerned, cutting back the existing program doesn’t in my eyes generate enough savings to implement a reduction,” said Woodard.
The other commissioners unanimously agreed to keep the trash schedule the same, based on the data.
“We asked for the numbers, and we got the numbers,” said Hatteras Island Commissioner Danny Couch. “I’m confident in the effort that went into this, and it answered my questions as well. I agree with the commissioner [chairman.]”
No vote was required to keep the schedule the same, although the commissioners did note that the idea of a winter change should be kept on the radar in case any other variables, like a county-wide recycling program, arose in the future.