Green River Star -

By David Martin
Editor 

Transfer station vote postponed

 


A vote to approve a bid for construction of the solid waste transfer station was postponed Tuesday night after Green River City Council decided to mull over a request to increase rates before the end of the fiscal year.

The vote would have approved a $1.97 million bid to build the transfer station building, with construction slated to begin in March or April. Tabling the decision does not impact the bid proposal, which is good for 60 days.

According to Chris Meats, the city’s finance director, the city might not be able to afford the costs associated with building a transfer station, purchasing equipment and closing the current landfill.

While the cost of constructing the station would be $1.97 million, another $300,000 in equipment and $200,000 in containers would be needed to make the facility operational. On top of that, the estimates for closing and sealing the landfill would be between $70,000-$100,000 per acre.

Meats idea to remedy the issue and provide a cushion for cost overruns would be to take out a loan for between $700,000 to $1 million, pledging revenues from residents’ solid waste fees to pay down the loan. If costs associated with the project run lower than the loan, the city would use the excess funds to pay down the loan.

Meats said the increase would be used to help create a revenue stream to pledge to the loan, as he is certain no one would be willing to take a lease on the closed landfill. The rate increase would also allow the city to get better loan rates.

The rate estimate provided to the city suggests a $10 rate increase would be needed for the city, a rate city officials say isn’t set in stone. However, Meats said the rate would only give a $50,000 cushion for the project, an amount he isn’t comfortable with. Meats estimated an increase of $12 would be more appropriate.

“We can’t complete this project without these loans,” Meats said.

The issue regarding the landfill isn’t a new one, according to Green River resident Bob Gordon. Gordon said there was interest in creating a new solid waste district about 20 years ago which would serve the city and surrounding area. Gordon said the issue came up after the Bureau of Land Management grew tired of people dumping trash in the prairie. The solid waste district was opposed by both the city and the local trona mines. Gordon said the trona mines opposed it because they would be the highest tax payers into the proposed district. Gordon said a deal was reached between the city and trona mines when the city opposed the district and received new garbage trucks from the trona mines.

The city’s landfill is scheduled to close June 30, three months before the station is scheduled to be completed.

While residential waste will no longer be accepted, Public Works Director Mark Westenskow said they would still accept building materials to help fill out the landfill.

 

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