Meeting Minutes

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

Approved at the June 24, 2014 meeting 

Flathead County Solid Waste District
Board of Directors Meeting
May 27, 2014 - 3:00 p.m.
Landfill Office

  • Roll Call

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

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

Attendees:  Lynnette Hintze and Mayre Flowers.

  • Introductory Remarks from Chairman

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

There were no comments

    • Program Updates from Non-Profits

      Mayre Flowers gave a brief update on the WasteNot Project classroom presentations.  She stated that she will bring the end of year annual report summarizing their accomplishments to the June meeting.  Mayre added that the WasteNot website is being revised and hopes to have it online soon.  Mayre also stated the community recycling bins were utilized at the recent Spartan event in Bigfork with the Girl Scouts volunteering their time to manage the bins.  
  • Approval of the Board Meeting Minutes for April 22, 2014 – Action Required

    Susan Nicosia moved to approve the minutes of April 22, 2014.  Alan Ruby seconded.  Motion
  • Action Agenda
    • Hours of Operation for East Corridor Container Site (Essex) – Action Required

The snow has receded at the new East Corridor Container Site near Essex.  We did utilize the help of a contractor to plow the final one to two feet from the site.  The electric fence sustained considerable damage but the chain link fence and gates were in good condition.  We are ready to open the site but the Board needs to determine days and hours of operation, along with the closing date after the holidays at the end of the year. 

Staff discussed options with Dan Sullivan, who resides in the area and will be our independent contractor who opens/closes the gate along with attendant duties to clean up the litter.  It was his recommendation that the site have hours of operation from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.  Staff concurs with these hours to start with and we’ll see if there are any issues.  We also learned after this winter that setting a hard opening date is likely unrealistic due to snow issues.  We realized that the bear fence must be in working order so having the snow melt near completion is critical.  Dan also agreed with this philosophy so staff would like to open the site “sometime in May”, depending on snow issues, and have a closing date of January 5th.  If the 5th falls on a Saturday then the site would be open on Thursday, the 3rd.  That should be the worst case scenario for closing closest to the January 1st holiday. 

Staff also has received permission from the Commissioners to terminate the lease of the current Essex site.  We will continue the lease through June 30 so we have time to remove the current fence, clean up any litter and grade the area.  We are planning on opening the new site on June 1st this year and will be removing the cans from the three existing sites shortly thereafter.  We will post a sign at the old sites informing customers of the new site location and the distance to travel to it. 

Susan Nicosia moved to set operational times at the East Corridor Container site from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.  The site will open in May, depending on snow melt duration, and will close no later than January 5th each year.  Alan Ruby seconded.  Motion passed.

  • Director’s Report
    • Recycling Program and Infrastructure Improvements

Staff has continued work on this project requesting 48 North Engineering supply a Scope of Work as a sub-consultant to SWT.  Brett Walcheck of 48 North will be preparing the design and bidding documents for the construction of the cardboard compactor pad, the attendant shed, fencing improvements and electric upgrades.  His firm will also provide construction oversight and testing as needed.  The expense of this phase of the project is greater than we originally estimated as having three different construction sites requiring three different layouts and then coordination during construction required Brett to increase his estimated hours and, therefore the expenses.  The design isn’t as an expensive issue as the coordinating and dealing with three different construction sites.  The contract is a time-and-materials, not to exceed so we’ll be billed for only the hours worked. 

Staff worked with Tara Fugina at the County Attorney’s Office and was told the District can bid (quotes) out the purchase of the compactors and recycling boxes ourselves.  Staff believes we get a better price by doing this than incorporating these items in the work performed by 48 North/SWT.  This work is on-going and staff hopes to complete it by the next meeting.

    • Revisions to Chapter 5 of the Strategic Report for the Flathead County Landfill

The first task for the consultants to perform for the revisions to Chapter 5 of the Strategic Plan (SP) includes a public meeting and discussion with a stakeholders group.  Staff sent letters to the following eleven people requesting their presence as “stakeholders” for the meeting:  Gary Krueger, Greg Acton, Paul Mutascio (Bigfork), Dan Benesch (Lakeside), Scott Mason of Hydrometrics, the three local private hauling company managers, Mayre Flowers, Greg McCormick from Flathead Lakers and Mayor Don Barnhart from Columbia Falls.  The meeting is scheduled for May 29, starting at 10 a.m. at the Foys Community Center at Herron Park.  There will be a public comment after a brief introduction by staff and then at its completion the stakeholders group will start on the discussion regarding the container site operations. 

The methodology for this project centers around concerns that when the container sites approach their maximum throughput decisions will need to be made by the Solid Waste Board and ultimately, the Commissioners, on what will then occur for the transportation of solid waste within the County.  For the stakeholders work we’ll be using what CH2M Hill calls the Multi-Objective Decision Analysis (MODA). 

MODA is a quantitative technique for making decisions that involve multiple financial, environmental and social objectives.  MODA proceeds through a series of defined steps that include:

  • Establishing the decision goal
  • Identifying and specifying the evaluation criteria
  • Developing performance measure (measurement scales) to measure how well options meet each evaluation criterion
  • Assigning scores for each evaluation criterion under each option
  • Assigning weights to the evaluation criteria
  • Calculating total value scores and conducting sensitivity analysis

MODA technique for this project will be used to assess the future options for the container sites using both monetary and non-monetary criteria related to operational, environmental and social impacts. 

The consultants have been working on gathering data from staff and preparing a centroid map of the County showing the landfill and green box sites along with the population densities in the area.  They will also be in town a day before the meeting and will tour the green box sites with Jim to assess any issues they may find for their work.

    • Potential Location for New Bigfork Container Site

Staff has been in discussions with Mr. Tim Calaway who owns property on the north side of Highway 83 near the intersection of Highway 35 in Bigfork (see GIS map included in packet).  He and his father-in-law are partners on the property.  Staffviewed a roughly 10 acre parcel due north of Highway 83 behind the existing cemetery.  Calaway is possibly interested in selling the District five acres of this parcel.  Its location and topography lend itself to being a suitable location for a container site.  The Commissioners have agreed to perform an appraisal of the property using Gene Lard.  Calaway agreed using Lard for the work.  We also have been told by Calaway that they’ve had discussion with the neighbors around the property and didn’t have too much objection regarding the possible site. 

Staff has talked with MDT regarding an approach permit for the site and they said preliminarily it is acceptable.  Staff also discussed the zoning with BJ Grieve at the County Planning and Zoning Office.  The land is currently zoned SAG-5 and a container site would be allowed there; however the Board of Adjustment to hold a public hearing on the splitting of the lot since is appears to be just under 10 acres but that is just a formality. 

The Commissioners also have said they believe if this project proceeds forward to construction and operation that a special district will need to be formed so that citizens in the area who want the site would be covering the expenses.

    • Fiscal Year 2014/15 Solid Waste and Junk Vehicle Budget

Staff presented the budget to the County Commissioners on May 12th for both solid waste and junk vehicle.  Discussions occurred regarding our “side bar” request for an additional 4.0 FTE to staff the container sites.  Along with this discussion was the need to modify the recycle program at the end of this calendar year.  We have been informed by Mike Pence, County Administrator, that the Commissioners approved our FTE request.  However the Commissioners will not finalize the budget until the end of June.

    • Refuse Operations

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

                            Total MSW to landfill                                      8,634.80

                            Total Appliances Collected                                680

                            Junk Vehicles Collected                                       7

                            Truck Trips to Container Sites                            451

                           Refuse tons/trip                                                 6.87 

The District landfilled 12.3% more waste in April, 2014 as compared to April, 2013 and our refuse trucks hauled 16.4% more waste comparing the same time frame. 

Gate revenue for fiscal year 2014 was projected at $800,000.  Through April we have received $1,316,879.52 or 165% of revenue through 83% 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. 

Our 13th annual Conditionally Exempted Small Quantity Generator event for business hazardous waste occurred on May 16th.  We had 10 companies participate of 13 that scheduled, which is about our average for this service.  Veolia Environmental Services is the company that runs the event and they also clean out our household hazardous waste facility when they are here.  Staff feels this event is very worthwhile and helps the business in the valley dispose of their hazardous wastes properly reducing the potential for the wastes ending up in the landfill.

Dave also stated that another neighboring property will be purchased within the next few week, bringing the total to 8 of 14 acquired properties.

Jim reported that there had been a few complaints regarding the change in the Columbia Falls site hours.

    • Budget and Financials

      Dave reviewed the Budget and Financials with the Board

  • Comments from Board Members

Greg Acton thanked the commissioners for approving the FTE (full-time employee) request which is needed to staff the sites and will allow the District to add cardboard compactors to the Creston and Somers sites.  

There were discussions regarding Bigfork being a “free for all” once the Creston and Somers sites were staffed.  Jim said there will be a “roving attendant” to help discourage that situation. 

There were also discussions regarding the likelihood of a bioreactor being built at the landfill.  Discussions included the District’s interest / ability as well as Flathead Electric’s gas requirements.  The general consensus was that it would most likely negatively impact operations and in addition, the Commissioners aren’t on board at this time.  Gary Krueger stated perhaps the District can look into it when the landfill begins to utilize the southern portion as other technologies might become available for disposing of septic waste by then.

  • Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 4:31 p.m.