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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Local Government: Trashing the debt: BV Solid Waste now on firm footing, to cut '13 assessments

Thursday, January 17, 2013

After approving payment of a $41,488.25 Department of Natural Resources loan during their Jan. 10 meeting, the Buena Vista County Solid Waste Commission is now debt-free.

Commission Member Don Altena told the Pilot-Tribune it's been a "long time" since the Harold Rowley Recycling Center has been without outstanding receipts.

"It's been longer than I've been there," he commented. "We did have financial issues in 2010, but now everything is paid off."

Nearly three years ago, commission members discovered the recycling center's operations had fallen into deep debt under past management.

By the end of the fiscal year in July, Altena estimated the center should have an excess balance between $675,000 and $680,000.

"We are hopeful it will be high, because we have been showing profit every month," he added.

Now that debt has been taken care of, promoting recycling remains a top issue. In the future, Altena said the commission hopes to purchase 32-gallon containers for recycling that do not require a plastic liner. "It's less handling and less waste," he explained. "I think it would increase awareness."

Following approval of the commission's budget last Thursday evening, assessments are set to decrease from $37 to $35, beginning in July.

The commission last charged $35 for assessments in 2009, before financial problems were unearthed.

Hauling garbage to Carroll instead of Cherokee has been "working wonderfully." "The communications from the facility are excellent, and it has proceeded smoother than we had even hoped." A contract with Carroll began in July 2012, after the Cherokee landfill allegedly breached a contract with the commission. Saddled with $3 million in debt, the landfill announced it was upping rates by $10 per ton.

Yard waste remains a contentious issue, and was tabled during the meeting. "We have been providing the service for the city, but it has been costing us tens of thousands of dollars each year," Altena said. "At some point, it will have to change, because every other city I know of provides a place for citizens to bring sticks and leaves." When BV County's landfill was operational, yard debris was mulched for bedding. Now, Altena says there is no need or use for it. "We'll have to resolve this," he said.

In March, the commission expects to receive feasibility study results for handling asphalt shingles. Neighboring Plymouth County currently collects, grins and sells the shingles. "We want to see if that is a possibility for us to do, too," Altena noted. "It's a two-fold savings---cost and recycling."



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