SUGAR MOUNTAIN — The material recovery site located near the Watauga County line in Banner Elk on N.C. Hwy. 194 is being moved to Norwood Hollow Road off N.C. Highway 184 in Sugar Mountain.
The new site, which will be located near the new substation project under construction by Mountain Electric Cooperative, should save the county and Sugar Mountain money.
Avery County Solid Waste Director Eric Foster said the site should pay for itself in about 3.5 years.
Foster noted that with the relocation, the county will no longer be paying the $1,150 incurred in monthly rent expense at the Banner Elk site, and additionally cited savings on fuel due to the reduced fuel cost and a reduction in the amount of waste brought to the site.
Foster estimates the county will haul about 30 percent less waste at the new site because the disposal site will be moved away from the county border. Workers at the waste sites are instructed to ask anyone dropping off trash at the site with an out-of-state license plate if they have a permit to use the site.
County residents and people who own property in the county are permitted to use the site regardless of what state their vehicle is registered in, but the proximity to the Watauga County border has resulted in the site being used by residents of the neighboring county. The unauthorized use has resulted in an increase of tonnage at the material recovery location, which in turn translates into additional disposal expense for the county.
The new lease with Sugar Mountain is only $1 a year, resulting in $13,799 in savings over a year’s period.
Sugar Mountain will also save money due to the site. There is already a convenience center operated by the village in front of the substation, and with the county staffing the new site, it will take some burden off the village.
The move will begin after the construction of the Sugar Mountain substation is complete. Concrete platforms will be poured for the equipment, the equipment will be moved, a fence will be installed and the county will perform some landscaping on the site.
Village Manager Susan Phillips said the county approached the village about the project.
“They thought it would be a much better location here in Sugar, and for us it’s a win-win for both because it’s more convenient for the residents of Avery County as far as the location,” Phillips said, adding the site will save the village significant funds over the year as well.
Phillips said there were no concerns from the public expressed to the village council when the matter was discussed.