Meeting Minutes

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

Approved at the September 22, 2015 meeting 

Flathead County Solid Waste District
Board of Directors Meeting
August 25, 2015 - 3:00 p.m.
Landfill Office

  • Roll Call

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

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

Attendees:  Patricia Johnson, Mayre Flowers and Allison Batch.

  • Introductory Remarks from Chairman

Alan Ruby acting as Chairman noted that Greg Acton, John Helton and Gary Krueger were absent.  (Gary Krueger arrived later in the meeting)

  • Comments from public

    There were no comments.
  • Program Updates from Non-Profits

    Mayre Flowers updated the Board on the following topics: 
  • Moving the Compost Garden to the farm facility at Flathead Valley Community College.
  • New recycling drop off site at Kalispell Medical Equipment on 4th Avenue EN.
  • Updated WasteNot webpage should be up very soon.

Allison Batch (WasteNot Project) updated the Board regarding the recycling at the NW Montana Fair:

  • WasteNot Project obtained the portable recycle containers through a grant from Keep America Beautiful and the Coca Cola Foundation.
  • Portable recycle containers were placed by trash cans near the established vendors.
  • Will have better signage next year for plastics #1 & #2.
  • Hope to encourage vendors next year to use locally recyclable plastics (and other material) to help recycling efforts.
  • Collected about half a 40 yard recycle bin of materials throughout the course of the Fair.  Anticipate better collection next year as people become familiar with the resource.
  • Approval of the Board Meeting Minutes for July 28, 2015 – Action Required

    Hank Olson moved to adopt the minutes for the July 28, 2015 meeting.  Wayne Miller seconded.  Motion passed.
  • Action Agenda
    • Modification of Fee Schedule – Tires – Action Required

      The Board has been discussing the creation of a fee schedule for the acceptance of tires from residential customers.  Currently, EnviroTire picks up our tires at the landfill and disposes of them at their landfill near Hot Springs.  Their business plan calls for the recycling of the tires when the economics are favorable.  The charging schedule would be a fee of $0.50/tire above what is charged to the District by EnviroTire. Currently, our fee schedule from them is as follows: 

              Passenger/light truck tires                                        $1.50/tire

              Passenger/light truck tires with rim                          $2.00/tire

              Semi truck tires                                                      $4.50/tire

              Semi truck tires with rim                                          $6.50/tire 

The first step in this process is to open a public hearing so citizens can voice their opinion to the Board of Directors regarding this fee schedule.  The public hearing has been advertised twice in the Daily Interlake as required. 

After closing the hearing the Board can discuss the issue and if desired pass a resolution adopting the fee schedule change upon Commissioner approval.  The Commissioners will go through the same process but are not required to hold a public hearing unless 50% or more of the residential units protest.    The Commissioners can then adopt the fee change. 

As requested staff inquired with a few of the larger tire companies in the valley how they handle disposal of tires with their customers.  Below is what we found out: 

GCR Tire – no charge for tire disposal when purchasing.  Will accept tires brought to them for disposal at $1/tire. 

Tire Rama – charges $2.50/passenger tire and $3.50/tire per truck tire when purchasing new tires from them. 

Les Schwab – no charge when customer leaves tires when purchasing from them. 

M&C Tires – no charge when customer leaves tires when purchasing from them. 

Eisinger Motors – adds shop fee on invoice depending on overall cost of tires, mounting and balancing.

Public Hearing:  Alan Ruby opened the public hearing portion of the meeting.  He asked if there were any comments from the public regarding the tire disposal rates.  There were no comments from the public.  Alan asked again for any comments.  There were no comments.  Alan asked a third time for comments.  There were no comments.  Alan Ruby closed the public hearing portion of the meeting.

There were general discussions concerning people still disposing of tires in inappropriate locations and leaving them at the unstaffed container sites.  The general consensus was to give it a year and see how this works out.  The item will be reviewed next August. 

Susan Nicosia moved to pass resolution SW2015-28.  Wayne Miller seconded. Motion passed.

    • Dragon Boat Recycling Material – Action Required 

      The WasteNot Project has lined up volunteers to service the recycling bins at the Dragon Boat Festival occurring September 12 and 13, in Lakeside.  After the materials are removed from the bins around the venue they need to be transported to a recycling facility.  The recycling facilities are not open on Saturday and Sunday but Pacific does have a drop off area available through the weekends.

The volunteers have issues with transporting the material all the way to Kalispell or Evergreen.  Mayre has requested they be allowed to drop the materials off at the Somers container site.  This was requested last year at the Bigfork site and staff said we didn’t think it was allowed since this isn’t residential recycling material.  Mayre has requested it again and after discussions with Tara at the County Attorney’s Office we believe it needs to be addressed by the Board.  Staff is not in favor of allowing this exception to our operating policy for the recycling program since this is not residential material.

Patricia Johnson representing Lakeside Boy Scout Troop 1933 addressed the Board stated the troop will be volunteering taking care of the portable recycle containers at the Dragon Boat event.  They do not have any way of storing the materials collected until a weekday when the recycling centers are open. They would like to drop off the recycle materials at the Somers site on Saturday and Sunday.   

Wayne Miller moved to allow the use of the Somers container site during normal operating hours for the recycling materials gathered at the Dragon Boat Festival in Lakeside. Susan Nicosia seconded.  Motion passed.  

There were discussions regarding possible extra servicing of the recycle container.  Mayre Flowers anticipated that no more than a pick-up load or two of material would be collected.  Gary Krueger asked if recycles collected at previous years events were allowed to use the county sites.  Dave said the District hasn’t given permission for use for these events, but it is unknown if they were used at the unstaffed sites when recycling was available in Bigfork last year.  Wayne denoted that this gesture is an opportunity to promote public service but this is a one-time consideration for the Dragon Boat race only and not a new policy for every event.  There were discussions of this opening the doors for other special circumstances and where would the Board draw the line. It is possible the District would ask to be reimbursed the cost if the recycle container requires extra service.

  • Director’s Report
    • Report on Assessment Volume per Residential/Commercial Unit

      During the July meeting the Board reviewed the rate structure of the District.  The residential assessment is based upon 26 cubic yards (CY) produced by the “average family”.  It has been this way since the creation of the District to the best of staff’s knowledge.  The commercial assessment is based upon 20 CY per average commercial business.  There are multipliers for the commercial assessment based upon volume produced but the residential assessment is one unit no matter how much refuse the household produces. 

Staff asked SWT Engineers to provide an information search and letter report on this pricing structure to make sure we are within industry norms for our assessment charges.  Their report is included in your packet (less the appendices).  Based upon their findings it appears our volumes per unit are within industry standards.  From their search on assessment rates charged it appears we fall into the less expensive rates charged to customers.

    • Lakeside Container Site Property

      After last month’s meeting, staff worked with the GIS Department and the IT Department to generate maps of the proposed Lakeside Special Fee Area.  We then calculated the corresponding Annual Residential Assessment Units for two different boundary locations.  As discussed before the south, west and east boundaries are easy to define.  The northern boundary has several possible locations.  Two boundaries where preliminarily chosen for the Boards review.  Option A encompasses 1535 residential properties and Option B 1488 residential properties. 

There are many options to choose from for the northern boundary.  We focused on using Spring Creek Road west of Hwy 93 as the most northerly road and then looked at subdivision roads that feed into Spring Creek Road.  Spring Creek Road is roughly at the half way point between Lakeside and Somers.  On the east side of Hwy 93 there are many options.  We tried to use a logical division of parcel boundaries along Old Hwy 93 and N Juniper Bay Road.

Dave referred to the e-mail from Barb Miller regarding results of the survey their local volunteer committee conducted. The survey indicated that residents are willing to have the site open less than 7-days a week.  There were discussions which considerations from the survey could be used.  

    • Unfair Labor Charge and Operating Engineers Collective Bargaining Agreement

      The unfair labor charge filed by the Operating Engineers who represent our operators and truck drivers has been forwarded on to the Board of Personnel Appeals (BOPA).  The report by John Andrew on the issue is included in your packet.  It appears that in Mr. Andrew’s opinion there was not enough bargaining history for him to make a decision either way so he sent the matter on to the BOPA.  Our attorney, Mike Dahlem will continue to represent the District and prepare the needed documents and testimony as required. 

Mr. Terry Spear will be the Hearing Officer.  Testimony will be given to him on the case and then he provides finds of fact and conclusions of law and a decision on the case.  Either party has the right to appeal his decision to the BOPA.  If desired the losing party may then appeal to the District Court and finally the State Supreme Court, 

The collective bargaining agreement with the Operating Engineers ended on June 30, 2015.  We have had two bargaining sessions and the Union has requested we have a mediator brought in to possibly help with the process.  Currently, schedules are being coordinated to have our next meeting.

    • Bigfork Container Site Construction

      LaSalle Sand and Gravel is the contractor for the construction of the new site.  They are progressing with the stripping of topsoil, excavation to base grades, importation of gravel materials for the access and tipping area and utility installation.  The project is currently on schedule to be completed in early October.
    • Refuse Operations

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


              Total MSW to landfill                                               10,958.01

              Total Appliances Collected                                       893

              Junk Vehicles Collected                                            1

              Truck Trips to Container Sites                                  398

              Refuse tons/trip                                                        6.53 

The District landfilled 1% more waste in July, 2015 as compared to July, 2014 and our refuse trucks hauled 7.2% less waste comparing the same time frame.   

Gate revenue for fiscal year 2016 was projected at $1,000,000.  Through July we received $91,804.95 or 9.2% of revenue through 8% of the fiscal year.  

We currently have a knuckle boom loader truck on the streets for bidding which is used to pick up the appliances and trash at the container sites.  This truck is budgeted and will be a replacement for the truck purchased in January, 2001.  The Road and Bridge Dept will be purchasing this old truck for $5,000.

    • Budget and Financials

      The Solid Waste expenditures were reviewed.  There were no other financials available yet.
  • Comments from Board Members

Gary Krueger asked if there were any unused funds from last year’s budget.  Dave stated that the final tally hasn’t come in from Finance yet. 

Hank Olson noted that the District made about equal trips from the north end of the valley and the south end of the valley.

  • Adjournment

                The meeting was adjourned at 4:33 p.m.