BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL)– The Bristol, Virginia City Council has a high price tag on its hands. The city’s landfill, which ceased accepting waste in September, is estimated to cost up to $30 million to clean up. That estimate was provided by city manager Randall Eads.
Bristol, Virginia Vice Mayor Neal Osborne said the city has about $11 million altogether to set aside for the project. That includes about $2 million from the state’s general assembly and about $9 million from ARPA funds, which are relief funds from the federal government. Osborne said they’re in the process of applying for other state and federal grants.
“We have to do the projects,” said Osborne. “We need to do it in a quick manner and a safe manner. But, we have to be able to pay for it.”
Osborne said this project needs to be completed over the course of a year to resolve landfill issues before they get worse and cost the city more money.
People who live near the landfill are concerned and worried that the city’s plan could signal an increase in their taxes.
“We’re going to end up paying a little more in taxes to cover it,” said Tyler Bowers, who lives in Bristol. “I mean that’s the only other way I know how they could cover it, so I guess our taxes and everything are going to go up plus cost of living.”
“Already so much in debt,” said Bristol resident Paul Garner. “And to go into more debt? I don’t see [a] solution.”
Osborne said no one on the city council would support raising taxes to help pay for this plan. He said the city has other routes council members would take to avoid that.
“We’ve been able to set aside some extra money to an unassigned fund balance, so we have several million dollars that is accessible to us,” said Osborne. “We don’t want to have to drain that down because that’s also what we use to pay off our municipal debt. But, at the end of the day, if that’s where the money comes from, that’s where the money comes from.”
The landfill has been the center of long-standing complaints by residents due to the odor several say permeates their homes and affects their quality of life. Earlier in October, Bristol natives told News Channel 11 that despite the landfill’s closure more than a month prior, the stench has lingered.
For complete coverage of the Bristol, Va. Landfill, click here.