Fairfax County's staff is urging the Board of Supervisors to buy a $400 million Lorton-area trash incinerator, promising the purchase will result in significant savings by 2029. The recommendation, favoring public ownership over privatization, came during the supervisors' closed meeting on Tuesday, according to a document obtained by The Washington Examiner.
The site, which burns 1.7 billion pounds of the county's trash each year and generates energy in the process, has been operated by Covanta Fairfax for the past 20 years. Even if Fairfax purchases the facility, Covanta remains under contract to operate it until at least 2016.
County staff analysts assured supervisors that the purchase would be financed by bonds, so it won't affect the county's general fund budget or its plans for building and road improvements. The added debt, however, could tarnish Fairfax's bond rating, making it more difficult to borrow money for projects like new schools or wider bridges.
A second option to be considered by the board would allow Covanta to retain ownership of the facility. No $400 million financing would be required in the short term, but the long-term savings are less, according to the analysts.
The public will have a chance to offer their views over the next several weeks, according to the document. A final board decision likely would come by Feb. 8.