Meeting Minutes

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

Approved at the August 26, 2014 meeting 

Flathead County Solid Waste District
Board of Directors Meeting
July 22, 2014 - 3:00 p.m.
Landfill Office

  • Roll Call 

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

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

Attendees:  Warren Davis, Margaret Davis, Kim & Jera Schwegel and Mayre Flowers.

  • Introductory Remarks from Chairman

Wayne Miller commented that he will be Chairman for the meeting as Greg Acton is absent.  He stated that since he needs to leave the meeting early and the agenda will be modified to allow time for discussion during the director’s report.

  • Comments from public

There were no comments.

  • Program Updates from Non-Profits (Postponed until after the Director’s Report)

Mayre Flowers updated the Board stating the WasteNot Project is continuing to loan out the event recycle bins at various locations.  Also, she has received a letter from a former North Valley Refuse employee which states that (some) recyclable materials collected are not going to the recycling center(s) but are being taken to the landfill.  Mayre stated there are only two recycling processors in the County, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to ask for accountability.  She reiterated that the public needs to continue to be educated as to which plastics are acceptable within the program. 

Alan Ruby asked Mayre if the events recycle bins will be present at the air show next month.  Mayre stated she doesn’t have enough funding to have them at such a large event.

  • Approval of the Board Meeting Minutes for June 24, 2014  – Action Required

Hank Olson moved to adopt the minutes of June 24, 2014.  Alan Ruby seconded.  Motion passed.

  • Action Agenda
    • Hours of Operation for the Somers and Creston Container Sites 

At last month’s meeting staff informed the Board we will need to modify the hours of operation at the Creston and Somers container sites when staffing is implemented.  We are still a few months away from implementation but it is staff’s desire to have the Board approve these hours so signs can be posted as we near the implementation date.  Staff is recommending a standard 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift, seven days per week.  It is our opinion with the input we have received regarding the summer hours instituted as Columbia Falls (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) that a consistent open/closing time is better received by the public than modifying times throughout the year. 

Hank Olson moved to set operational hours at the Creston and Somers container sites from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days per week.  Hours will begin when staffing has been implemented at the sites.  Alan Ruby seconded.  Motion passed.  

Dave stated the extended hours at Columbia Falls have met with some resistance. Staff is keeping track of usage between the 5 & 6 o’clock hour and so far, there is minimal traffic during that time period.  Most people don’t like the change.

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

Staff held a conference call with the consultants on July 11 to review work in progress on the revisions and the Multi-Objective Decision Analysis (MODA) model.  After a lengthy discussion of the decision criteria categories and sub categories the consultants can continue with their work.  Also discussed was the ranking for the decision criteria so as to try to capture everything that the decision makers (SW Board and Commissioners) would review before a decision could be made in the future regarding container site program. 

Staff has been working on securing access to businesses around the County to use for implementation of the public survey.  With construction season here and Jim’s time needed to oversee the installation of the liner we have not been able to dedicate as much time as needed to have the entire County covered.  We have multiple stores in the north end of the valley but have yet to canvas the south areas.  A few locations have been found west of town in the Kila and Marion areas.  We’ll continue to do this as best as possible but will need to balance the other work tasks along with this project.  The consultants have been informed of the slow down on our side in the implementation. 

There was also discussion on the need of the survey for the final re-write of chapter 5 for the strategic plan.  It is staff’s opinion that while the survey may not be as important as first developed with the direction most likely to be taken for Bigfork and Lakeside it would provide a good snapshot in time of the citizens we serve and their opinions on District operations and direction. 

Wayne Miller expressed concern that the survey not show bias toward Bigfork.

    • New Bigfork Container Site 

At the June board meeting a subcommittee consisting of Gary, Wayne and Hank was created to discuss the creation of the special fee area, the boundary for the area and the expenses to be allocated to the area.  The committee met on July 9th.  During the discussion of the boundary it was decided to look at using the quarter section line as the northern most limit of the area.  After discussions with the GIS Department we were able to use a quarter section line between Lindsey Lane and LaBrandt Road.  We also included the land to the west of Highway 35 bordered by the Flathead River.  (See map included in your packet.)  The IT Department was able to calculate the number of residential assessments within this boundary.  The original boundary included School District 4 (Swan River) and 38 (Bigfork).  There were 3,350.25 units in this boundary.  The new boundary includes 3,082 residential units. 

The expenses to be allocated to the special fee area also were modified slightly.  The addition of a tree buffer and water well for irrigation of the tree buffer was added to the capital expenses.  This expense may be modified if the Bigfork Water and Sewer District can provide water service at less expense than drilling a well.  The annual site maintenance for summer was also increased slightly for the irrigation system. 

Also discussed by the committee was the application of when to charge the first installment on the tax rolls for the special fee.  It is desired to not modify the fee every year so the discussion centered on using final expenses after the construction is completed.  The thought is that the first payment would come in the November tax installment the year after the site is constructed.  This will allow time to summarize the expenses after the construction and then provide them to the Clerk and Recorders Office (CRO) so they can be included in the tax roll the next year.  It is required to have the info to the CRO in August so they can get them on the November tax roll. 

The final item discussed was the need to have a public meeting in Bigfork so we can hear from the citizens as to their desires for the new site.  There are three basic questions the committee felt citizen input was needed to make sure we precede forward in a manner that is both fiscally responsible and sensitive to the wishes of the citizenry.  First is to know if a majority of citizens want a new site knowing if we don’t build the current site would be closed?  Secondly, do they want to have the recycling option that will include a compactor for cardboard and two 30 yard bins for the other recyclables?  And finally, would they like the site open five or seven days per week? 

Staff asked Greg to call for the special meeting so it has been scheduled for August 12th at 6 p.m. at the basement of the Lutheran Church in Bigfork.  This venue is used for other County meeting through the years and has worked well. 

Dave stated there will be options such as open 5 vs 7 days per week (which would cut staffing expenses by one-third), landscaping, well or community water, recycling, etc.  Wayne asked to have maps and other pertinent hand-outs available at the meeting.

    • Recycling Program and Infrastructure Improvements 

48 North Engineering has completed the design and bidding documents for the recycling program improvements.  The schedule has the project out to bid in early August and an award by the Board during the August meeting.  Due to construction weather constraints staff will ask the Board to award the project and authorize the Director to execute the contract documents at this meeting.  This will allow us to get through contracting and start the project so the 45 day construction duration will be completed by October 31, 2014. 

Wayne stated there are two important action agenda items next month and asked that the Board members are contacted to be sure we have a quorum.

    • Landfill Expansion Property Acquisition 

The Hedstrom property was purchased on July 1st.  We now own nine of the 14 properties in the expansion area.  The purchase price was $250,000 plus closing costs and will come from the FY15 budget.  We budgeted $500,000 for the year so if another property is purchased this fiscal year we’ll most likely need to receive approvals from the Commissioners.  They are aware of this and funding is available from our trust fund (transfer) or from our cash balance.

    • Construction of Phase IV B Groundwater Protection System 

Sandry Construction has started work on the Phase IVB liner.  General earthwork has been occurring including removal of the storm water basin and bringing the area back up to subgrade elevation with engineered fill.  They have also exposed the liner tie in along the boundary of Phase III and prepped the floor and slopes for synthetic deployment.  Submittals continue to come in and other than minor issues with approvals appear to be occurring smoothly.  It appears that the 60 mil liner sheet will be available from the manufacturer Sandry prefers to use.  There have been some issues regarding their financial stability but we are now hearing they have resolved their issues. 

Wayne asked if Sandry Construction shares in the liability should the liner fail.  Dave said yes, Sandry and the liner company share liability within the required warrantee time frame.

    • Refuse Operations 

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


                            Total MSW to landfill                                      9,719.87

                            Total Appliances Collected                              735

                            Junk Vehicles Collected                                   0

                            Truck Trips to Container Sites                         461

                            Refuse tons/trip                                               7.70


The District landfilled 0.9% less waste in June, 2014 as compared to June, 2013 and our refuse trucks hauled 0.7% less waste comparing the same time frame. 

Gate revenue for fiscal year 2014 was projected at $800,000, and was revised in April, 2014 to $1,550,000 at the direction of the Finance Department.  Through May we have received $1,408,301 or 90.7% of revenue through 92% 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.  We don’t have June financials yet due to the close of the fiscal year.

    • Budget and Financials

There were no financials available at this time.

  • Comments from Board Members

Susan Nicosia stated that she has received a couple phone calls regarding the hours at the container site.  There have been some good and some bad comments.  Her experience is that people who work love the new hours.  Dave stated that staff is keeping track of utilization of the site between 5 p.m. & 6 p.m. for future consideration. 

Hank Olson clarified if Bigfork and Lakeside sites are expanded that staffing will need to increase to 5 employees. 

Dave apprised the Board that he sent a letter to Carla Haas at Montana Dept. of Transportation asking if they would be willing to lease a larger portion of the site at Lakeside, or possible sell to the District.  Dave is hopeful the District can at least expand Lakeside.  Not sure if DOT is willing to sell.

  • Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 3:58 p.m.