Green River Star -


Solid waste services privatized


November 8, 2017

Star photo by David Martin

Jennifer Holden, an employee with Green River's Solid Waste Division, reacts to a unanimous vote to contract with Wyoming Waste Systems during the Green River City Council meeting Tuesday night.

With two votes, the Green River City Council effectively ended its solid waste division and contracted with Wyoming Waste Systems for its solid waste disposal.

The Council voted unanimously to contract with Wyoming Waste Systems, followed by unanimous approval of a severance package for employees in the city's solid waste department.

For residents, the switch to a private solid waste company means a monthly garbage bill, which Mayor Pete Rust said would be $31.50 for basic services. According to the city's finance director Chris Meats, the cost the city would have charged would have been $41-$43 per month. Residents will also get the added benefits of multiple containers, which will allow them to dispose of recyclables and green waste, as well as regular household refuse. Residents paying for garbage service will also be able to take 1,800 lbs., of garbage to the city's transfer station each year. However, that service does not extend to residents opting not to utilize Wyoming Waste Systems. The city will also receive a yearly franchise fee from Wyoming Waste Systems for use of the city's transfer station.

"I think it's a good agreement," Councilman Gary Killpack said about the city's contract.

The severance package approved by the Council Tuesday night gives full time solid waste employees a half year of pay as part of its package.

Employees taking the package will receive lump sum payments if agreeing to the package. Full-time employees will receive a lump sum equivalent of 28 weeks of pay based on 40 hours of the employee's base hourly rate. Full-time employees will also be eligible for payout of their Incentive Time Off. Part-time employees will receive a lump sum payment equal to a third of their wages earned between Nov. 1, 2016, and Oct. 31, 2017.

City documents state nine full-time employees and three part-time employees are eligible for the package. According to city documents, employees will receive an intent to participate form and a waiver and release form Wednesday and need to sign both documents and turn them in by Dec. 22. The employees' last day of work will be Dec. 31, with their lump sum payments being issued by Jan. 12, 2018.

Councilman Allan Wilson said the severance agreement was something the Council had sent city staff "back to the drawing board" numerous times during its creation.

"There was not going to be much when we started," Wilson said.

Wilson, along with other Council representatives, said the decisions to privatize its solidd waste services and approve the severance package were difficult ones to make.

"Never did we forget about these employees in solid waste," Councilman Robert Berg said.

Green River city engineer Mark Westenskow said construction of the solid waste transfer station is nearly complete, with the contractor currently going through the final punch list of items.

"It's about ready to go," he said.

Westenskow said the city is moving ahead with closing the landfill, though they're still accepting waste to help fill in the remaining space. Westenskow said space is an issue, but they're on track with closing it at the end of the year.

Westenskow said the process is more than simply putting a padlock on the gate to keep people out, saying a lining will need to be installed to prevent leakage into the local soils, along with dirt work to cover the landfill. He said the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has been accommodating in regards to the closure, saying they've provided some funding and an extended time line to close it.


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