Meeting Minutes

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

Approved at the August 25, 2015 meeting 

Flathead County Solid Waste District
Board of Directors Meeting
July 28, 2015 - 3:00 p.m.
Landfill Office

  • Roll Call

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

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

Attendees:  Kim and Jera Schwegel and Mayre Flowers.

  • Introductory Remarks from Chairman

    Greg Acton thanked everyone for attending and noted that John Helton and Susan Nicosia were absent.
  • Comments from public

    There were no comments from the public
  • Program Updates from Non-Profits

    Mayre Flowers arrived later in the meeting and gave the following updates:
  • The recycle bins have arrived at the fairgrounds and will be assembled and useable by fair time.
  • Valley Recycling will place additional recycling and cardboard bins at the fairground during the fair.
  • The WasteNot Project has completed updating their website which has been forwarded to staff for review.
  • Since Super 1 in Kalispell asked that the recycle bins behind their store be pulled, Mayre has found a neighboring business (Kalispell Medical Equipment) willing to allow the bins on their property.
  • Tabletop displays for the pharmaceutical take back program have been placed at a wide variety of pharmacies around the valley. 
  • Approval of the Board Meeting Minutes for June 23, 2015 – Action Required

    Hank Olson moved to adopt the minutes for the June 23, 2015 meeting.  Alan Ruby seconded.  Motion passed.
  • Action Agenda
    • There are no items on the Action Agenda this month
  • Director’s Report
    • District Disposal Rates

      At the June meeting the Board took public comment from Mr. Henry Wilks from Bigfork.  He was upset with the required payment for his loads of demolition material beyond what is allowed under the assessment.  Currently, each assessment (homeowner) is allowed two pickup sized loads of demolition or oversized type material per year and then they pay the gate fee of $31.05/ton.  The scale house personnel try their best to manage this system and are pretty successful with remembering customers.  It definitely is NOT a perfect system but is a result of the type of system we have chosen to operate for the District.  The fairest system would be a “pay as you throw” where every transaction is weighed and calculated at the gate disposal rate.  With our container site program we are hindered in our ability to run such a system.

The District has created a rate sheet for other materials that we accept that are outside of the standard municipal solid waste (MSW) we accept.  Special rates include:  mobile homes, large and small animals, records burial (certified if requested) and friable asbestos.  We will soon be adding the new tire disposal costs to this rate sheet when/if approved by the Commissioners.  The rate sheet is included in your packet.  Also, after the discussion regarding Mr. Wilks concerns we can add the info for costs for the demo/oversized waste for residential customers. 

Our standard assessment for residential waste is $80.73/unit.  This charge is intended to cover the standard MSW created in each household.  This is based upon a household producing an average of 26 cubic yards (CY) per year.  The commercial assessment charged to businesses is the same rate but based upon 20 CY per year.  Each residence (assessor number with an occupied house/structure) is charged one unit, regardless of the number of occupants in the house.  A four plex would be charged 4 units.  Commercial assessments are charged on the volume of waste they produce annually divided by the 20 CY per assessment.  Staff does a biennial info request to all the businesses in the County to make sure we are charging the correct amount.  The one caveat to the commercial system is for a business that has a compactor or roll-off box (larger stores like grocery stores, big box stores etc.).  They receive a one unit assessment and then pay the gate rate ($31.05/ton) when their box is hauled to the landfill.     

Discussions included adding language to the rate sheet regarding oversized demolition “from your own residence” and allowing “two pick-up sized loads” for free. Dave will consult with the County Attorney regarding the additional wording to the rate sheet.    

Dave was directed to ascertain if an average volume of household garbage a family produces in a year is available. 

    • Lakeside Container Site Property

Staff asked the County GIS Department to create a map of the Lakeside area to create the boundaries of the Special Fee Area like what was created in Bigfork.  The south, east and western boundaries are very easy to define.  The northern boundary is more difficult to define.  We’ll have a large map on the wall for the board meeting and will provide an electronic copy to the Board that will allow you to zoom in and scroll around to see each specific property and the quarter section lines.  We were able to use a quarter section lines in Bigfork to create the northern boundary of that fee area.  It is likely we can use the same type boundary for this area but it can easily be refined by GIS if we need that work. 

Once the area is defined staff can determine the number of assessments in the area and calculate the estimated costs per assessment.  We’ve asked our engineer to determine an Engineer’s Estimate for construction next summer.  We have the other costs very well defined at this point.  Once we have the info we can inform the Lakeside residents for the need of a meeting to present the info and make sure they want to have a “full service” site which includes a recycling option.

Discussions were directed toward determining where to draw the “service” line.  Ideas included zip code boundary, school district boundary, section line boundary etc. 

    • Tire Disposal Fee Schedule 

After researching the file and discussion with the County Attorney Office we will need to hold a public hearing to modify the disposal fee schedule for accepting more than four tires per household per year for a fee.  After the public hearing and if less than 50% of the District units (households) protest the District can pass a resolution requesting the Commissioners approve the fee increase.  If more than 50% protest then the Commissioners would also have to hold a public hearing.  We’ll plan on holding the public hearing at the August board meeting after advertising in the Interlake as required.  The resolution and notice of hearing have been prepared and approved by the County Attorney’s Office.   

The public hearing will be scheduled for the August 25, 2015 meeting.

    • Unfair Labor Charge and Operating Engineers Collective Bargaining Agreement 

The Union filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against the District for our implementation of the 5x8 hour day work schedule.  The Union attorney provided their legal reasons for the ULP to John Andrews who is the investigator for the Board of Personnel Appeals (BOPA).  Our attorney, Mike Dahlem, prepared a response and staff provided testimony to Mr. Andrews regarding the charge.  This process is likely to take months to work out if the charge is forwarded to the BOPA.  If the charge is unfounded (determined by Mr. Andrews) it will be dismissed but can be appealed by the Union to the BOPA. 

The collective bargaining agreement with the Operating Engineers ended on June 30, 2015.  We have been requesting to bargain the new contract since April.  The Union has denied our requests and said they wanted to wait until the contract was over.  We have prepared our proposals for the first negotiating session.  The Business Agent (BA) for the Union met with the employees on July 8 to prepare their proposals.  Our first negotiating session occurred on July 21st.

    • Bigfork Container Site Construction 

LaSalle Sand and Gravel is the contractor for the construction of the new site.  Their contract time began on July 27th and runs for 60 calendar days putting the completion at the end of September barring any weather delays.

    • Refuse Operations

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



       Total MSW to landfill                                      11,134.10

       Total Appliances Collected                              655

       Junk Vehicles Collected                                   3

       Truck Trips to Container Sites                         376

       Refuse tons/trip                                               6.41 

The District landfilled 14.5% more waste in June, 2015 as compared to June, 2014 and our refuse trucks hauled 8.7% less waste comparing the same time frame.  It is interesting to note that the container site waste has been trending down for multiple months as compared to the previous years’ corresponding month.  Staff believes this is the result from the staffing at the Somers and Creston sites.  Our scale house personnel are seeing an increase in traffic, both commercial and residential customers, at the landfill.  On the unfortunate side we have noticed a large increase in the oversized waste stream at the non-staffed container sites (Coram, Bigfork, Lakeside, Ashley, and Olney).  This work has increased and we’ve had one of the boom trucks out of service for about a month as we waited on parts.  We have a new boom truck budgeted for in the current fiscal year that will reduce the down time resulting from break downs.  We will be going out for bid in the next month or two. 

We learned of an assault that occurred at the Coram container site on July, 12th.  We are using Express Personnel to provide a site cleaner to pick up the site at least three times a week.  Their employee was punched in the face when he was dealing with a customer.  We are hoping for prosecution but since the employee is not ours we are not in a position to direct this decision.  We do feel, however, it is extremely important for our container site monitors and all employees to know that any violence, especially physical, will not be tolerated and immediately directed to law enforcement. 

Gate revenue for fiscal year 2015 was projected at $900,000.  Through June we received $1,150,145.22 or 127.8% of revenue through 100% of the fiscal year.  These numbers are preliminary due to the end of the fiscal year but we believe they are very close to the correct amount. 

Discussions included observing staffed sites turning people with large items away and directing contractors to the landfill has had an impact at the gate. 

    • Budget and Financials 

There were no budget and financials available at this time.

  • Comments from Board Members

Alan Ruby asked if the contracted attendant at Coram was able/legal to carry a weapon.  The general consensus was because of liability issues, it would not be a good idea for a contracted employee to be armed.  

Wayne Miller is disappointed that a contracted employee couldn’t have better protection (pressing charges) from the District.   

Hank Olson requested a letter of appreciation be written to the DNRC and Marion Volunteer Fire Department for assisting at the fire at the West Corridor Site. 

Greg Acton stated the Whitefish City Hall is scheduled to be demolished soon and the debris will be coming out to the landfill.

  • Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.