DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The city of Dothan’s landfill sits idle as the city is battling a court order that shut it down. At this time, Dothan maintains the dump will save taxpayers money, but will it really?

WDHN News went looking for answers and what was found raised questions that the city didn’t want to answer.

Bobby Lewis and landowners, who have been against Dothan expanding its landfill, have asked the city to compare and let the public know both costs, of how much it is to operate the dump and how much it’s costing the city of Dothan to ship that waste, annually.

“Based on numbers I’ve been told by people in this building here it’s much higher to operate that landfill,” Lewis said during a Dothan Commission meeting Tuesday.

We have reached out to the city multiple times this week asking for clarification on how much the landfill costs the city to operate. Those requests were denied. Dothan’s Community Relations Officer, Vincent P. Vincent told us.

“We’ve been down this road before and won’t be talking about the expenses,” Vincent said.

He claims they already knew it was cheaper to expand the landfill than ship trash to Florida. However, others disagree.

“I’ve been told that it is costing more for us to own the landfill and operate it than it was costing for us to pay Waste Management to take our garbage,” Lewis said.

In 2020, the city created a solid waste fund that was supposed to operate as a separate fund, but the city still had to take $3.3 million from the general fund for this year and next year in order to pay all the bills.

A recent Dothan budget report projects they will need $10,819,122 this fiscal year and another $10, 834,273 for next year. With total expenses to operate the city dump coming to over $1.6 million dollars each year.

Which is actually more than what the mayor said it costs to haul the trash to Florida earlier this week.

When asked, “it’s about a million dollars to ship it out of state?”

“That was a figure that was used some time ago,” Saliba said. “With fuel costs up and all of that I can imagine the costs could be a lot more than now.”

But even if it’s more than $1 million a year, that’s still less than the $1.6 million budgeted for the dump.

“When we pay Waste Management to take it, they also take the liability of that garbage,” Lewis said.

Campbellton, Florida is where that waste goes to as of now, which is just across the state line just 30 minutes from Dothan. Houston County also uses this facility to dispose of some of its waste and other towns and cities also find it more cost-effective than running their own landfill. This is what landowners near Dothan’s dump would like to see, they’ve long complained that toxic materials near them pose a health hazard.

“Go back to just transporting it back to Campbellton and be done with the problem, Lewis said. “Because you can’t keep kicking the can down the road because it’s going to end up right back in front of you. I think that is where we are at.”

Lewis said this isn’t a battle against the mayor or city, but rather a battle against what is right and wrong.