The Hancock County Board of Supervisors on Monday voted 3-2 to deny Boudin's Environmental Waste's request to upgrade the dump site on Rifle Range Road to a Class One.

On Feb. 12, the Hancock County Solid Waste Authority hosted a public hearing and later, unanimously approved the application and amendment to the solid waste management plan.

Prior to the Monday vote, Boudin's Environmental Waste owner Joey Boudin outlined his reasons for wanting the upgrade, which would allow him to dump construction debris.

The property in question – the Hardie dump – already has about three million yards of construction debris, Boudin said.

Boudin said he spends about $50,000 a month dumping his waste at landfills outside of Hancock County. He said he could bring that waste here, employ more people and provide benefits to the taxpayers.

He added that construction is on the rise in Hancock County. Boudin said it's "very important" to also be prepared for the "next disaster." He said the current sites can't handle the volume.

Boudin said the projected lifespan of the site is about 30 to 40 years.

"Do you wanna think it's very important for the Solid Waste Authority to have somebody to bid against them?" Boudin said. "Do you wanna think it's very important to give the best rate to the taxpayer? I think y'all pay $4.75 a yard for disposal. You all are probably their largest single customer, they send you one bill, Solid Waste Authority sends them one check. You can't get a good deal because you can't negotiate. You don't have a competitor."

Boudin referenced an invoice from a Slidell company that's paying $2.85 per yard to dump.

Hancock County Board of Supervisors President Blaine LaFontaine said he looked at 16 counties in Mississippi with populations equivalent to Hancock County.

There are 88 Class Ones sites in the state, he said.

There are two permitted Class One sites in Hancock County, but only one is active, LaFontaine added, which he said is not uncommon. The site in the north end is inactive.

"The sites per capita is about 34,000 population per one site," LaFontaine said. "Hancock County at 47,000 people estimated, at two permitted sites, is already exceeding what the state per capita is. We don't want, in my opinion, the reputation of being Hancock County: The home of Class One rubbish sites. That's not what we're trying to do. But we're also trying to work with you and the guidelines of the application and the need."

According to an MDEQ report, LaFontaine said, statewide there has been a 22 percent increase in out-of-state rubbish in the past five years.

King Landfill is the only current active site in Hancock County, LaFontaine said. Over the past five years, the site went from receiving 22,000 tons to 18,000 tons and 11,000 from out-of-state down to 5,000, he said.

LaFontaine said that the question before the board is, "is there a need in Hancock County?" He said that maybe the only thing the board could look at as a "need" would be competitive pricing.

MDEQ recommends there be two Class One sites in the county, one in the north end and one in the south end. The site Boudin wants to operate is close to the south side, LaFontaine said.

Supervisor David Yarborough said he "sees no reason why we couldn't pass to allow this man to improve his business in Hancock County."

"There have been three things in the past that have kept him from getting it: Politics, greed and jealousy," Yarborough said.

Yarborough said he also sees a need for this site in Hancock County.

King Landfill owner Richard Santiago also spoke to the board. He said before he got the county contract, the county paid $28,000 per month and now pays $13,000.

The projected lifespan of his site is 42 years, Santiago said.

Santiago said the annual tonnage of Class One debris for King is about 18,000 tons and 6,000 from out-of-state.

In the event of a disaster, Santiago said, he can "guarantee the county 3 million cubic yards" and has "35 acres permitted and ready to go."

Santiago said there's not enough volume for two Class One sites and that "one of us would close."

Yarborough made a motion to accept Boudin's application. The motion failed 3-2. LaFontaine and Supervisors Bo Ladner and Scotty Adam voted "no." Supervisor Greg Shaw voted "yes."

After that motion failed, LaFontaine made a motion to send the application to MDEQ to make a recommendation for a determination of need. The motion passed unanimously.

In other action:

• The board appointed Micah Necaise and Virginia Kenny to the Oschsner/HMC Medical Advisory Board.

• The board discussed scheduling a date for the event, "Coffee with the Supervisors." No action was taken, but the board is looking at a May date for the event.

• The board approved a proclamation recognizing April as Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.

• The next board meeting is scheduled for April 16 at 9 a.m.

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