Meeting Minutes

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

Approved at the June 23, 2015 meeting 

Flathead County Solid Waste District
Board of Directors Meeting
May 26, 2015 - 3:00 p.m.
Landfill Office

  • Roll Call

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

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

Attendee:  Mayre Flowers.

  • Introductory Remarks from Chairman

There were no introductory remarks.

  • Comments from public

There were no comments.

  • Program Updates from Non-Profits 

Mayre updated the Board on the following:

  • Classroom presentations are wrapping up. 
  • The Bigfork Girls Scouts collected 157# of aluminum and 267# of plastic in the recycle bins at the Spartan Race.  There are several small events scheduled this summer to utilize the bins. 
  • She distributed copies of the Fix-It Local guide and said the website should be done by the June meeting.
  • Approval of the Board Meeting Minutes for April 28, 2015– Action Required

Alan Ruby moved to adopt the minutes for the April 28, 2015 meeting.  Gary Krueger seconded.  Motion Passed.

  • Action Agenda
    • Container Site Operating Policy  – Action Required

At the April meeting the Board reviewed some changes to the Container Site Operating Policy.  The document is used by staff at the sites and in the office to disseminate our changes at the sites in the last few years.  It is very useful to our attendants out at the sites to communicate our rules of use. 

There was one change that we need direction from the County Attorney’s Office regarding the ability to prosecute people who take metals from our recycling pile.  Most customers follow the directions of the attendants when they are told they are not allowed to salvage the metals.  A few are defiant and this should help us in our application of this rule. 

All changes to the document are shown in red line format and are included in your packet. 

Susan Nicosia moved to approve the Solid Waste District Container Site Operating Policy effective May 27, 2015 as presented.  Gary Krueger seconded.  Motion Passed. 

  • Director’s Report
    • Coram and Olney Container Site Hours of Operation  

Discussions last month on the desire to staff the Coram Container Site occurred amongst the Board.  Staff has talked with multiple citizens in the Coram area who are concerned with the appearance of the site and the misuse by some patrons.  The Board was interested in staffing the site in the immediate future.  Staff informed the Commissioners of this desire on April 29th at our monthly meeting.  Currently, there is no financial consideration in the FY16 budget for these personnel.

  • The Board also discussed the idea of changing the hours of operation at the Coram site to be consistent with our other staffed sites from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days per week.  Staff supports the consistency throughout the system of having the same hours of operation.  We don’t know the Commissioners position yet on staffing but this would be a phased implementation to get the hours changed sooner and then work on the staffing.  Staff also believes that we should consider making the hours of operation change to our other improved, but not staffed sites, at Olney and Ashley Lake.  We don’t believe staffing is needed at this point there but, again, consistency is important throughout our system. 

Staff has discussed the hours and believes that since we are within the summer season at this point in time it might be wise to change the hours after the summer peak season.  We can post sign(s) informing summer residents of the impending change for next year.  We believe an October 1, 2015 implementation would be appropriate. 

Included in the packet are two spreadsheets showing the appliance/oversized trash tonnages from the container sites from CY2014 and 2015 YTD.  The staffed sites have virtually no trips hauling trash.  Coram has the highest number of trips hauling trash.  In 2014 the expense of hauling trash from the appliance pile is three times greater than the cost of hauling the appliances.  In 2015 at the staffed sites (Columbia Falls, Somers and Creston) there is virtually no cost for hauling trash material. 

The Board discussed the importance of consistency of hours at all the green box sites with November 1 as the date to implement the change in hours at Ashley Lake, Coram and Olney and April 1 as the date to staff the Coram site, pending Commissioner approval.   The Board discussed additional costs required to staff the sites including the cost of providing recycling.    

    • Fire in Metals Recycling Pile at Landfill  

On May 10 at approximately 2:30 p.m. a fire started in the metals recycling pile.  Our Foreman was pushing up the pile and saw smoke coming from the pile immediately after he backed up to make his next push.  After trying to remove the smoking material from the pile with the loader he called for the water truck.  It quickly became apparent that the fire was more than our staff could handle.  911 was called and the fire departments responded to battle the blaze.  At 8 p.m. the fire was extinguished and at 9 p.m. the fire departments left the landfill.  The fire has been ruled an accident by the West Valley Fire Department. 

Some changes will be implemented after this event.  We will now make either two or three piles instead of one larger one.  Fast action on the part of our Foreman Craig Irish saved about 1/3 of the pile from burning.  He was able to split the pile with the loader and the fire chief said that helped tremendously in their work on the fire. 

We don’t know if an accelerant was what caused this fire to grow so quickly but we did hear many explosions from within the pile during the event.  We try to segregate propane cylinders to a separate area for recycling but when citizens throw off their old bbq’s there are many times the bottles are still attached and can contain propane.  We are discussing if we should not accept propane cylinders and refer citizens to Cenex where we take our cylinders for recycling. 

Susan suggested charging a fee to offset the cost of handling the propane tanks.  Dave and Shelby both felt that citizens would not disclose they had propane tanks to dispose of and would simple throw them in the dumpsters or hide them under other items in their load rather than pay a disposal fee.

    • Used Tire Acceptance Modification and Pricing Structure  

Currently the District accepts four tires per year from citizens free of charge covered under the annual residential assessment.  Citizens who have more tires with them are not allowed to leave them in our tire recycling area.  We provide them the company name and phone number for our service provider, Enviro Tire, and ask them to call them to arrange pick up.  Some citizens have asked to pay us to leave more than the four tires.  We tell them we are sorry and can only accept four per year. 

We discussed the idea of accepting more than four tires but charging after the first four tires.  Staff talked with Enviro Tire and they think it is a very good idea.  Our contract with them expires in November, 2015 but has a two year extension if agreed upon by the parties.  Staff recommends extending the contract.  Enviro Tire says at this point they would maintain their pricing structure for the extension. 

We only accept passenger tires for the most part.  The contract has pricing for semi-tractor/trailer sized tires but we get very few of this size.  Current pricing is at $1.50/tire for passenger/light truck tires, $2.00 for passenger/light truck tires with rims, $4.50 per tire for semi tires and $6.50 per tire for semi with rims.  Staffs idea is to add $0.50 to each one of these prices for our pricing structure. 

After discussions with the County Attorney’s Office we will need to have this pricing structure approved by the Commissioners.  

The Board felt $0 .50 per tire was an acceptable amount to charge.  Dave stated that the June board meeting will include a motion from the Board recommending the approval of a tire fee to the Commissioners.

    • Refuse Operations  

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



              Total MSW to landfill                                         9,401.67

              Total Appliances Collected                                  1,029

              Junk Vehicles Collected                                       0

              Truck Trips to Container Sites                             402

              Refuse tons/trip                                                   6.29


The District landfilled 8.9% more waste in April, 2015 as compared to April, 2014 and our refuse trucks hauled 7.1% less waste comparing the same time frame. 

Gate revenue for fiscal year 2015 was projected at $900,000.  Through April we received $933,769.82 or 103.8% of revenue through 83% of the fiscal year.  

Work with Landscape Perfections West on the new trees along the highway has been completed.  We installed a better drip irrigation system that the landscape company recommends and 100 Colorado Spruce ($20,000) that are between eight and 13 feet in height.  Hopefully, these will have sufficient roots to not be damaged by the rodents that caused problems with the younger deciduous trees.  Total expense for this project is anticipated at $44,523 with $50,000 budgeted in FY14/15. 

Our annual Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG) event for business hazardous waste occurred on May 15th.  Veolia Environmental is the contractor we use for this service.  They will also remove our household waste material from our monthly program while they are here.  16 of the 18 scheduled businesses brought their material to the landfill.  Veolia said they event was a success from their perspective and we assume the local businesses were equally satisfied. 

The Union filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against the District for our implementation of the 5x8 hour day schedule.  The Union’s attorney has been on vacation and is to return shortly.  Our attorney, Mike Dahlem from Whitefish, said we should hear from the investigator from the Board of Personnel Appeals in the immediate future.

    • Budget and Financials

Dave reviewed the Budget and Financials with the Board.

Dave said bid results for the Bigfork container site construction will be available for the Board at the June meeting. 

Greg asked Dave about the Bigfork fees and the timing for getting the numbers.  Dave explained the timeline and what expenditures the District and Bigfork are each responsible for.  Total costs should be determined by spring 2016 with the fee included on the 2017 tax bill.  Dave believes the fee will be approximately $45 but could be higher.

  • Comments from Board Members

There were no comments.

  • Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 4:03 PM.