(Note: Meeting minutes are always one month behind. Only approved minutes are published)
Flathead County Solid Waste District
Board of Directors Meeting
April 2, 2013 – 3:00 p.m.
(Rescheduled March 26, 2013 meeting)
1. Roll Call
Board Members present: Hank Olson, Chairman; Greg Acton, Vice Chair; John Helton, Member at Large; Lorin Lowry, City of Columbia Falls; Gary Krueger, County Commissioner; Wayne Miller, Board of Health. Absent: Alan Ruby, Member at Large.
District Staff present: Public Works Director Dave Prunty, Operations Manager Jim Chilton and Recording Secretary Deborah Morine.
Attendees: Howard and Tracie Keister, Cyndi Sweet, Kim & Jera Schwegel, Heidi Sue & Marty Puryer, Bobby Richardson, Susan James, Mayre Flowers and Terry Weed.
2. Introductory Remarks from Chairman
Hank Olson thanked everyone for attending and introduced the Solid Waste Board.
3. Comments from public
Heidi Sue Puryer – Kalispell: Stated the recent article in the newspaper appeared misleading regarding which property the Commissioners were interested in purchasing. She is looking forward to the discussion later in the meeting.
Bobby Richardson – Whitefish: Also read the article and questions why the county needs to purchase 500+ acres when the landfill is using only a portion of the land they currently own. He said he comes from Georgia where they are using technologies which help reduce the volume of trash and stated that the county needs to encourage more recycling.
Tracie Keister – Olney: Stated she is concerned with the Olney site construction and how it may affect their neighborhood, property values and wells.
Susan James – Whitefish: Said she is astounded that the county was considering putting a dump on a piece of beautiful land that could be used for developing homes or farmland which would bring in more revenue for the county. She suggested that with advanced technologies, a larger parcel may not be needed in the future.
Marty Puryer – Kalispell: Asked if the landfill was looking at purchasing 500 acres or 271 acres; or only using 271 or the 500 acres. He also referred to his recent Letter to the Editor in the Daily Interlake and said the public needs to know what’s going on.
Susan James stated she is worried about the value of the property in the area. There are nice homes in her neighborhood.
4. Program Updates from Non-Profits
Mayre Flowers distributed the WasteNot 2013-2014 Program Goals to the board.
The goals include:
- Continued school classroom outreach
- Expanded school & landfill tours
- School presentations
- Earth Day – School Recycled Sculpture contest
- On-going/annual update of the WasteNot Project Website and brochures
- On-going outreach and promotion of the Pharmaceutical Drop Box Program
- Community Event Recycling Bin Loan Program
- Fix-it Local brochure
- County Recycling program
- Develop new display materials
- UnCommon Sense Program
- Continue to work to host a workshop with experts on Bio-Reactor Landfills
Mayre also suggested using vehicle wraps for advertising as a lesser expensive alternative to using billboards
John Helton asked Mayre if she has obtained any data on how much electronic waste has been diverted since Pacific Steel and Recycling has accepted electronics. Mayre deferred the question to Dave and Dave stated we have not asked. Dave will call and ask if Pacific has any data to share and will bring it back to the Board at the next meeting.
5. Approval of the Board Meeting Minutes for February 26, 2013 - Action Required
John Helton asked that his comments in the “Comments from Board Members” be changed to reflect that he was acknowledging the entire Solid Waste staff for a job well done.
Greg Action moved to adopt the February 26, 2013 meeting with the suggested revisions. Lorin Lowry seconded. Motion passed.
6. Action Agenda
- Solid Waste On-Call Engineering Service Contract – Action Required
The District issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in 2007 for on-call solid waste engineering services. Two firms responded to that request and the District award a three year contract with two, two-year extensions to SWT Engineering in Ontario, CA. This contract provides the main solid waste engineering services for many tasks but the major components are for the design and construction oversight/construction quality assurance of our liner installation and final closure construction. SWT utilizes firms both locally and out-of-state to provide the District with the highest level and competency of services. They are requesting to implement the final two year extension of the contract. SWT provided a letter with their accomplishments over the last two years that is included in your packet.
Due to the economic issues facing all of their clients these past years they agreed to hold their pricing during the first two year extension. With this second, and last, extension they are asking to increase their rates to their current 2013 level. They have agreed to hold these rates for the duration of the contract to April 3, 2015.
Staff has been extremely pleased with the service provided by SWT and their team members. We are able to have timely reviews of major project plans with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for our liner and closure projects. This is crucial due to our short construction season in Montana. When the plans are submitted there is very little discussion that needs to occur and when the final quality assurance report is submitted for a liner we are able to start refuse operations quickly in the fall which greatly reduces our water and leachate issues within the lined cell. Our major closure projected completed on Phase I required extensive discussions with the DEQ to meet the rules in place during refuse filling and SWT saved the District many dollars in costs to close to the current closure rules. The other tasks they completed help the District function to the high standard we strive for and their utilization of local firms when possible keeps dollars here in our local economy.
Staff recommends that we proceed forward with this last extension of the on-call engineering services contract.
Greg Acton moved to authorize the Public Works Director to execute the final two-year extension with SWT Engineering for on-call engineering services for the District. Lorin Lowry seconded. Motion passed.
Hank stated that the Board has been pleased with their work. Lorin asked what the increase entailed. Dave stated that the highest increase was $16 in the hourly rate for the principal engineer and senior planner. The rest of the increase in rates for other staff varied in the $5 to $10.
7. Director’s Report
- Landfill Expansion Project
At the last Solid Waste Board meeting the Board asked the Commissioners to take official action on the Landfill Property Acquisition which the Board has been working on for the last year or so. At the Monday, March 18th, Commission meeting the Commissioners unanimously passed the following motion:
Commissioner Krueger made a motion to proceed forward with the acquisition of properties adjacent to the Flathead County landfill.
Dave was provided, by the Commissioner’s Clerk, a letter presented to the Commissioners by Hank and Lacy Galpin of Sky-Air Enterprises. The Galpin’s provided a statement during public comment on the same day the Commissioners took this action. Galpin’s also contacted Hank Olson over the weekend and asked if he wanted a copy of the letter provided to the Commission. Hank requested they provide it to staff so it could be included in the Board packet.
Gary stated a letter from the Commissioners has been drafted to the 14 neighbors as well as Sky-Air which inquires of anyone willing to sell, the Commissioners are ready to purchase at a mutually agreed upon appraised price. Gary reiterated that all options are on the table. He estimates it will take about two years to complete the process.
Wayne Miller clarified that at last month’s meeting it was determined the Commissioners have taken over the responsibility of deciding which properties to purchase and it is now out of the Solid Waste Board’s hand. He recommends the neighbors direct any further question to the Commissioners. Gary stated that the Commissioners are working the way the by-laws allow. He stressed that we want to be a good neighbor to the 14 property owners and if and when they wish to sell, we are ready to purchase.
There were some discussions regarding costs involved moving to the larger parcel across Prairie View Road as well as possible advanced technologies in the future to help alleviate the need for land. It is important for the landfill to stay centrally located for the benefit of the entire citizenry. Hank also took issue with piling the trash along the highway corridor.
- Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Preparation
Staff has prepared the preliminary budgets for Solid Waste and Junk Vehicle Departments. Please note these numbers may be modified before and after the board meeting as the County continues the budget process.
The Solid Waste budget is anticipating $8,320,963 in revenue. The majority of revenue ($4.8 million) is generated from the assessment system paid by the residents and businesses. The gate revenue projection will be $800,000 (up $50,000 from the current year) and recycling revenue is forecast at $134,300, mainly from the metals program. There is also a transfer in from the trusts totaling $2,471,800.
Expenses for the coming fiscal year are anticipated to be $8,338,995. The District is NOT requesting any additional personnel in the upcoming budget year. Staff is recommending a transfer to the lined cell lateral expansion trust of $600,000, which includes approximately $500,000 from depreciation and $100,000 direct cash deposit. The land purchase trust is planned at $700,000 for future land acquisitions for the Landfill. This money would also be used for a container site land purchase if necessary. The LFGTE improvement trust will again be funded at $30,000, with Flathead Electric matching that amount, and the closure/post-closure trust will receive $600,000 as has been done in the past.
The Junk Vehicle budget is anticipating $129,177 in revenue. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) provides funding for this department through a grant. Monies are generated through the licensing of motor vehicles in Flathead County. DEQ will reduce the revenue given to the District for the next fiscal year by the amount remaining in the District program at the end of the current fiscal year.
Expenses are estimated at $129,177 for the program. There has been a significant reduction in the volume of work for this program the last few years. In years past the District would haul 300 to 400 vehicles in a year. Currently, with the increase is scrap metal value the vehicles are now worth hauling for the revenue generated on the scrap so we are down to 20 to 30 vehicles in a year as the vehicle owners and salvage companies take advantage of this value. In previous years the District kept any remaining unspent money and transferred it to the CIP budget line item but DEQ recently changed that decision. Now any remaining money at the end of the year will adjust the revenue received for the next fiscal year up to the total of the grant.
Dave reviewed the preliminary Solid Waste and Junk Vehicle budgets with the Board.
- Container Site Construction
The plans and specifications for the construction of the Olney container site are completed and we are ready to advertise the bid for construction this summer. The project consists of moving the site south a few hundred feet onto the land the District is leasing from MDT. There will also be a new entrance constructed on the south end of the new site from Highway 93. Chain link fencing, a five strand electric bear fence and a night security light will also be installed. We will be moving the site to be solely on the MDT land. Currently, the site is partially located on DNRC property, which places the District in trespass, according to the DNRC.
Since our last board meeting we have been in contact with one of the neighbors to the south of the site. There is a small subdivision there that was created in 2003. Michael West is concerned with the construction and we have emailed back and forth on questions he asked. The Board and Board of Commissioners were copied on the emails.
i. Public Comment
Tracie Kiester – Neighbor at the Olney site: Stated that she had talked with Brian Manning at the DNRC and said she was told they were willing to lease to the District. Dave explained that he has exhausted the purchase and/or lease option with the DNRC and MDT and they are not willing to relinquish their lease of the DNRC land. The District must move off the DNRC property.
Tracie cited her concerns of possible contamination of their wells in the area as well as declining property values and odors. She also asked if there was going to be screening of the site so they don’t look directly into it. Dave said there will be bear-proof fencing outside of the six foot chain link fence that will have privacy slats along the portion of the fence nearest their property. She also inquired if a recycle container could be placed at the new site.
Dave reiterated that we are ready to move forward and have construction finished by the end of September.
- Recycling Program Request Proposals (RFP)
The RFP for recycling services has been advertised in the paper and emailed to the companies here in the County who are potentially interested in responding. We moved back the due date to April 19th to give the respondents acceptable time to work on their proposals.
- Alternative Daily Cover (ADC) Demonstration Project
The District has been utilizing green waste material (GWM) as ADC for the last 14 years. The program was discussed in our Operations Plan submitted to the DEQ and approved by them. During our last inspection the DEQ Inspector, Kathy O’Hearn, noted that our ADC program was not following the rules for use of GWM as ADC. No other inspector ever commented on the use by the District in the fashion we have been using it. Current DEQ regulations allow for the use of this material for no more than six days in a row. You are then required to cover with soil on the seventh day. DEQ directed us to use soil to cover the refuse ever seventh day and we have been doing so.
Staff has subsequently had discussions with DEQ and utilized our engineering firm, SWT, to supply a report of the use of GWM as ADC for a longer period of time. This subject has been analyzed extensively in other states to gain approval to use this material for longer durations between the use of soil for cover. DEQ understood our concern for the use of this material as a way to extend the life of the landfill by using a waste commodity as an approved cover material. We then requested to perform a site-specific demonstration project, allowed in the rules, to gain approval from DEQ for the increased duration between soil cover applications. DEQ agreed with this request.
The demonstration project will take place over a staggered three month period. The first will be in March, the next in May and the third in August. The goal is to see how the material works in different environmental conditions throughout the year. We will be monitoring for the nuisance issues typically associated with cover operations such as, litter control, vectors and birds, fire prevention and dust control. Scott Mason from Hydrometrics will be doing the third party inspections and will work with SWT who has prepared the program for approval from DEQ and will write the final report. It is our hope that we will gain the approval from DEQ to utilize the material for a period of 30 days between soil cover requirements. It will be their decision as to any increase in duration beyond the current six day limit.
Other landfills in the state also were using GWM as we were for ADC. We have been in contact with them and their concern for their operations and airspace. Our program will most likely help other landfills in the state that find themselves in the same quandary.
- Billboards for Highway Litter Awareness
The District, along with funding support from the City-County Health Department, purchased a billboard along Highway 93 south of Kalispell to raise awareness of the highway litter issue and the resulting fines possible for transporting an unsecured load to the landfill or container sites. The initial contract was for a two year period that expires on April 13th.
Staff has been in contact with the billboard company inquiring about other available billboards in the County and new pricing. We also contacted Joe Russell at the Health Department to see if they are interested in continuing the funding they provided. The two-year contract totaled $7,200 with the Health Department contributing $3,000.
Staff has discussed the idea of a new picture on the billboard with a vehicle pulled over by a Flathead County Sheriff deputy with an unsecured load. Sheriff Curry recently issued a press release that his department would be citing citizens with unsecured loads for violation of the litter laws. Sheriff Curry liked the idea for the picture on the billboard utilizing their vehicle and deputy.
Jim said he would like to relocate the advertisement to a new location up the road that is currently available. Dave said, as Mayre stated earlier, vehicle wraps are also a viable option to advertising.
- Refuse Operations
Operations proceeded well for the month. Tonnage/Volumes are shown below:
Total MSW to landfill 4,792.08
Total Appliances Collected 347
Junk Vehicles Collected 0
Truck Trips to Container Sites 382
Refuse tons/trip 6.3
The District landfilled 15.0% more waste in February, 2013 as compared to February, 2012 and our refuse trucks hauled 5.3% more waste comparing the same time frame.
Gate revenue for fiscal year 2013 was projected to be $750,000. Through February the gate has generated $597,036.56 or 79.6% of revenue through 67% of the fiscal year. Last year at this time the gate has generated $518,746.15 for eight months of FY2012.
- Budget and Financials
Dave reviewed the Budget and Financials with the Board.
8. Comments from Board Members
Wayne Miller addressed an early comment regarding recycling and said that the county doesn’t have control over (compulsorily) recycling; that has to come from the state level.
John Helton stated that new technologies take a lot of energy (electricity) and we are in an area that has major constraints as to how much is allotted and we are not able to purchase enough energy; we can’t afford it.
Bobby Richardson – attendee: Said “the infrastructure wasn’t there once upon a time, but things do change”. Hank stated over the years, the Board has been approached with many new technologies that could work. Most of them are just not a good fit with our area/population or financial means. John Helton said that you are looking at one of the more progressive Solid Waste Boards in the state. We are doing our best, our minds aren’t closed.
Gary Kruger thanked Dave for going over the budget item by item. He anticipates the State Pension Fund is going to ask for a 1¼ % increase. So the county budget is going to be tight this year.
Hank Olson said he would like to discuss the proper uses for the green box sites next month. The public doesn’t seem to understand. He also would like to publicly rebut the misinformation that Paul Mutascio put out there about the county shutting down all the container sites.
Dave gave a brief update on the Bigfork Committee stating that so far it’s been informational mostly. They are very interested in keeping the site, but are realizing the difficulty with its size. They are in the process of exploring the possibility of obtaining (leasing) more land to expand. We are giving them the facts and letting them figure out the solutions.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:12 p.m.