The Fremont County Bandfill Board encountered heated questions during a public hearing about the future of the county landfill. Lewis Clark Recycling and Disposal (LCRD) recently approached the board with a proposal to shut down the current operation, lease the landfill and convert it into a transfer station. The offer comes at a crucial time for the board, as decisions about landfill construction and funding must be made in the next few weeks.
Rick Turbeville – LCRD Director of Operations was on hand to explain the logistics of the proposal.
-Fremont County Landfill must close by the end of 2018.
-LCRD will convert the landfill into a transfer station.
-Waste will be transferred to Loess Hills landfill.
-FC pays a closure cost of an estimated $1 million.
-LCRD pays a post-closure cost for the next 30 years.
-LCRD will purchase all landfill equipment from the county.
Board member Tom Shull read a letter obtained from the Page County Landfill Association expressing interest in coming together to operate a transfer station as a “joint effort”, if Fremont County decided to close the landfill.
County citizens were called upon to voice their concerns about the closure. RJ Schaffer wanted to hear about what other options have been explored besides the LCRD proposition. Board member Earl Hendrickson responded with, “We have not looked at any that I know of”. Hendrickson asked present board members if they knew of any other options. Landfill Manager Casey Moyer said the other option was to build a new cell addition or dumping area. This option would cost the county approximately $470,000.
Residents were also concerned about the reasoning behind the transfer station and who will be in control once the change happens. Mike Fox, former landfill manager said LCRD’s proposal is very one-sided. “I haven’t seen any counter proposals from our board. The landfill is not set up to make money, its set up to provide a service for the people of Fremont County." said Fox, which brought applause from the crowded room.
Hendrickson stated that the purpose of the change was to get out of debt. “We are going to go half a million dollars in debt if we have to build the new cell.”
Board member Hendrickson said one of the main concerns is revenue loss. He explained that Shenandoah Sanitation (operated by LCRD) delivers sixty percent of Fremont County’s trash. “If we would lose that sixty percent of our revenue, can you imagine what that would do to our landfill?” asked Hendrickson.
Hamburg resident and City Council member Russell Stocksell, questioned the transparency of Hendrickson’s statement. “So are they threatening to do that?” said Stocksell “It’s always proposed that they are going to pull out. Every meeting we go to, it’s been that way.”
“No, they haven’t threatened to do that, but they can” said Hendrickson.
Stocksell also said he has concerns over the rushed process of the decision. “The problem is in the process. While [LCRD’s proposal] might be in our future, I don't believe that that time is now. There's too many questions to be answered. There's too many facts to be checked,” said Stocksell.
Board member Rick Barton said that while he agreed the public meeting was premature, something had to be done to cease the rumors that were spreading. “It had to be brought to the public due to the coffee shop talk, things were getting out of hand,” said Barton.
Residents continued to voice their criticism of the proposed transfer station for more than an hour. The board will hold a special meeting on May 22 at 7 p.m. at the Fremont County Landfill for further discussion and a possible vote on the final decision.