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SWA approves revised IGA, BOC to vote next
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By a 4-3 vote, the Newton County Solid Waste Authority (SWA) approved changes to the Intergovernmental Agreement between it and the Newton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) Thursday night.

The new agreement grants the SWA “an exclusive franchise to provide solid waste collection within the unincorporated areas of the County.” It also states that Newton County will pass ordinances and resolutions that are reasonably necessary to support the exclusive franchise.

According to the new agreement, if the authority decides to sub-contract for trash pick-up, it is required to make reasonable efforts in its procurement process to allow businesses located in Newton County a full and fair opportunity to compete for contracts. It also states that in its selection process, the authority “shall give due consideration to the merits of employing businesses with experience in the local market.”

The agreement also obligates the SWA to maintain and operate “some” of the 11 convenience centers which were scheduled to close at the end of June for at least one year from the effective date of the agreement. The IGA does not specify a number of centers that will continue to operate, but states that at least one center located in or near each commission district will stay open.

SWA members Bob Stafford, BOC Chairman Marcello Banes and Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston voted against, while members Philip Wise, Sharon Sawyer and Commissioners Nancy Schulz and Lanier Sims voted in favor of the revised agreement.

The BOC is scheduled to discuss the changes to the IGA at its next meeting Tuesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. in the Newton County Historic Courthouse.