Meeting Minutes

(Note:  Meeting minutes are always one month behind.  Only approved minutes are published)

Approved at the October 28, 2014 meeting 

Flathead County Solid Waste District
Board of Directors Meeting
September 23, 2014 - 3:00 p.m.
Landfill Office

  • Roll Call

Board Members present:  Greg Acton, Chairman; Wayne Miller, Vice Chair; John Helton, Member at Large; Gary Krueger, County Commissioner; Hank Olson, City of Kalispell and Alan Ruby, Member at Large.  Absent:  Susan Nicosia, City of Columbia Falls. 

District Staff present:  Public Works Director Dave Prunty, Operations Manager Jim Chilton and Recording Secretary, Deborah Morine. 

Attendees:  Scott Shreves and Kim & Jera Schwegel.

  • Introductory Remarks from Chairman

Greg Acton thanked everyone for attending and noted that due to a scheduling conflict, Susan Nicosia was absent.

  • Comments from public

There were no comments from the public.

  • Program Updates from Non-Profits

There were no comments from Non-Profits.

  • Approval of the Board Meeting Minutes for August 26, 2014 – Action Required

Hank Olson moved to adopt the minutes of the August 26, 2014 meeting.  Wayne Miller seconded.  Motion passed.

  • Action Agenda
    • There are no items on the Action Agenda this month
  • Director’s Report
    • Revisions to Chapter 5 of the Strategic Report for the Flathead County Landfill  

A conference call regarding the Strategic Plan update occurred in August with the consultants.  CH2MHill is finalizing the MODA analysis.  This analysis will not be completed as originally planned because at this point there isn’t any comparison of options to analyze.  With the decision to construct a new site in Bigfork, and one likely in Lakeside, there isn’t any options to compare against one another.  It will be available when the time comes to use the process if there was something that derails our current direction or when we’ve reached the operational level at the container sites where we have become operationally inefficient due to the volume of waste at the sites.  Included in your packet is a draft of the MODA analysis for your review. 

Our customer survey is scheduled to be concluded on September 26th.  We are getting decent participation from our customers at the businesses we selected around the County.  Staff is inputting the data into a spreadsheet that will be forwarded to the consultants.  After that is completed CH2MHill will begin the process of rewriting Chapter 5 of the plan.

Dave stated that once complete, we expect to have just over 1,000 survey responses.

    • Bigfork Container Site 

A buy/sell contract for the purchase of the Calaway property has been approved by the seller.  Staff has ordered the title report from Insured Titles.  This usually takes two to three weeks to complete.  The seller asked for a letter from the District outlining the operating parameters for the new site.  That letter is included in your packet.  Staff discussed with Tim Calaway how we intend to construct and operate the site.  However, we also discussed with him that we can’t make an absolute guarantee on the staffing of the site year after year but that we believe this is highly likely throughout the life of the site. 

The budget contains $50,000 for this purchase this year.  The project came together after the budget preparation so staff has talked with the Finance Department on needing a change to the CIP.  The budget included $700,000 transfer from the operating fund to the Land Purchase Trust Account this year.  We have made that transfer and the needed funding will then come from that trust.  With closing expense the purchase will cost around $152,000. 

Hank Olson asked if the Bigfork “group” were still willing to pay to plant trees around the perimeter of the new site.  Dave stated there’s nothing in writing, but they stated they would participate in the beautification of the site.  There is a nursery in Lakeside that offered trees, but Dave is unsure if they are the type of trees we desire to use.  Gary Kruger stated the landscaping of the site is formulated into the cost of the special fee area and can either remain or be removed depending on their participation.

    • Recycling Program and Infrastructure Improvements 

Contracting has been completed with LaSalle Sand and Gravel.  They have started work on the project.  We are on schedule and our completion date is early to mid-November. 

Staff along with Commissioner Krueger had a conference call with Mike Cullinane from SWT Engineering to discuss the Request for Proposal (RFP) to provide the hauling and processing of the recyclables from the three container sites (Columbia Falls, Creston and Somers) and the Landfill.  After considerable brainstorming and discussion we settled on a direction for the RFP with the project.  We will ask the contractors to provide the District with a “per pull” price for removing the materials from the sites.  It will be their job to include all needed costs (processing/marketing etc.) for their work in this cost. 

We are going to start the project with a two year contract with a possible one year extension at the discretion of the District.  As we discussed last month this will help us to fine tune the operation as necessary without the concern of locking into a longer duration contract. 

We're also discussing asking the contractor to provide a cost from the Bigfork and Lakeside sites so if we move forward in that direction we will have a bid number for that work.

    • Volumetric Report for Landfill efficiency FY14 

SWT Engineering has completed the annual review of the operations of the Landfill.  The site was flown on July 11, 2014 to generate a topographic survey of the property.  This topo is then compared to the previous year topo and the volume of fill and the amount of soil removed for cover is calculated. 

From July 12, 2013 to July 11, 2014 the operation consumed 163,125 cy of airspace and disposed of 100,482 tons of refuse.  The effective density, which is the total weight of refuse disposed divided by the gross airspace used, equals 1,212 lbs/cy.  The Board’s annual goal for this number is 1,000 lbs/cy.  The estimated refuse density is 1,490 lbs/cy and the calculated refuse to soil ratio is 4.4:1.  The site balances at a 3:1 refuse to soil ratio.  Any ratio exceeding the site balance indicates an excellent utilization of our landfill’s airspace.  We are landfilling more refuse with less cover soil to help extend the life of the landfill.  The volume of waste accepted at the landfill increased 3.5% as compared to the previous year’s volume. 

Along with this utilization work SWT Engineering also refines our Closure/Post Closure cost estimates for the facility.  This is an annual requirement of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) as required by the Solid Waste regulations.  The cost estimates were increased with an inflation factor of 2.2%, as reported in the Engineering News Record - Construction Cost Index.  The closure costs of the North Area Landfill are estimated at $4,423,135, the South Area Landfill at $15,111,081 and the 30 year post closure monitoring expense is $7,216,787.  The total of these costs is $26,751,003.  The District has $8,285,852.13 in our Closure/Post Closure trust account or 31% of the needed money.  

Hank asked that a commendation letter be written to the employees.

    • Construction of Phase IV B Groundwater Protection System 

Sandry Construction has continued work on the liner project.  The subgrade has been approved by the engineer and the liner subcontractor has been deploying the synthetic layers.  Weather has been a little bit of an issue with the rains but the subgrade soil has not reached saturation and there has been very little run off or erosions.  We are behind our initial schedule at this point but we will not started refuse operations on this liner until next spring/summer so it is not as critical as previous liners we have built to finish with time to get the initial refuse lift on the floor.  The contractor has worked over the weekends to help catch up with the initial schedule for the project. 

Jim stated the liner project is a little behind schedule as the liner sub-contractor has been understaffed.  There were supposed to be 13 employees installing the liner, but they have been working with as few as 7 or 8.  Dave stated that it is difficult working with the rolls of liner material and walking up and down a 2:1 slope and it is taking a toll with them being understaffed.  Jim said the projected end date is November 1st.

    • Container Site Operating Policy 

At the August, 2013 board meeting the Board adopted the above reference policy.  A copy of that policy is included in your packet.  Staff has been discussing the policy and will be requesting a few modifications in October.  We would like to have this policy in hand when our container site monitors start work at Creston, Somers, Bigfork and Lakeside.  We’ll hand the info out to our customers so everyone understands what our new rules for these previously unstaffed sites will be.  Our attendants at Columbia Falls have been working with the current policy and provided us with a few changes that will improve our operations. 

There were general discussions regarding accepting unlimited numbers of passenger / truck tires at the landfill and charging a minimal fee. Hank hoped this would help defray the cost of trucking them out and hopefully discourage people dumping them in piles at the sites.

    • Refuse Operations 

Operations proceeded well for the month.  Tonnage/Volumes are shown below:


                            Total MSW to landfill                                             10,258.66

                            Total Appliances Collected                                       757

                            Junk Vehicles Collected                                            9

                            Truck Trips to Container Sites                                  461

                            Refuse tons/trip                                                       7.65


The District landfilled 2.1% more waste in August, 2014 as compared to August, 2013 and our refuse trucks hauled 3.0% more waste comparing the same time frame. 

Gate revenue for fiscal year 2014 was projected at $800,000 and was revised in April, 2014 to $1,550,000 at the direction of the Finance Department.  Through June we received $1,503,877 or 97% of revenue through 100% of the fiscal year.  This increase in gate revenue is attributable to the Montana Department of Transportation project in Whitefish which generated a sizeable volume of contaminated soils brought to the landfill. 

Gate revenue for fiscal year 2015 was projected at $900,000.  Through August we received $222,556 or 24.7% of revenue through 17% of the fiscal year. 

    • Budget and Financials

There were no financials this month.

  • Comments from Board Members

John Helton praised the landfill employees for job well done and asked about the landfill safety record.  Jim stated there have been a couple industry related injuries within the last 6-8 months, but nothing catastrophic. 

Alan asked for a landfill neighbor update.  Dave confirmed there are five properties left to purchase.  A few have obtained appraisals, but are not yet ready to sell.

  • Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 4:05 p.m.