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Highlighting discernment

All too often in government it seems like there is a lack of proper discernment and planning for the future. Decisions are made that may seem appealing in the present but will leave a locality, state or country unprepared in the future.

Because of this, it is particularly important to highlight incidents in which government does show good discernment and foresight.

We would like to praise the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors for its recent unanimous decision with regard to the Cumberland County landfill that is set to be run by Green Ridge Recycling and Disposal Facility.

At the recommendation of Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett, the board opted to reserve part of the future Cumberland landfill for potential use by Prince Edward.

As we reported, Bartlett confirmed that this reservation is not of any cost to the county but is simply a way for Prince Edward to keep its options open in the years to come should the need arise to use part of the landfill.

A natural response to this might be to say, “Why on earth are we thinking about using Cumberland’s landfill when we have our own?”

Both Bartlett and Lockett District Supervisor Robert M. “Bobby” Jones offered good answers to that question.

“The county has been well served by operating our own landfill for many years, and there is no intention to change operations,” Bartlett said. “It will take approximately two to three years, anyway, before this proposed landfill in Cumberland County is actually ready to accept waste. Over that period there could be many unexpected items that arise that we don’t know anything about at this time, such as (Virginia Department of Environmental Quality) DEQ regulations, increased cost or decreased revenues that could make it appealing for the county to take advantage of this offer. So it would be in the county’s best interest, I think, to keep all of our options open.”

Green Ridge is a subsidiary of County Waste, which Bartlett confirmed is the Prince Edward landfill’s single-largest customer outside of Buckingham County.

Guessing how things could work moving forward, Jones said that obviously once County Waste opens the Cumberland landfill, it will be taking its waste that way.

“Well, that’s not what they’re saying, but I don’t believe it either,” Bartlett said. “I don’t know why they wouldn’t, but they said that they would not want to haul it that far.”

“That’s good to hear,” Jones said, “but I just wonder, if we lose our biggest customer — of course, this is way down the road — we would want to keep our options open to use their landfill if it got to where our landfill couldn’t operate properly.”

Bartlett said Green Ridge was required by DEQ to contact every locality in Virginia and offer the ability to reserve capacity in the Cumberland landfill.

“And they’re seeing about a 30 percent response, is what they told me, of county’s accepting,” he said.

We appreciate the prudence of Prince Edward supervisors and Bartlett in this matter with respect to the county we call home.