June 15, 2016

Landfill supervisor talks tipping fee increase

By Kate Johnson

A motion was made and unanimously approved to increase tipping fees by $2 at the Mercer County Landfill starting January 1 of 2017, also increasing the tipping fee for Freon removal from $12 to $17.
Landfill Supervisor Candice Strand presented to the Mercer County Commission what the current actual costs were in order to run the business. She drove home the point that the Landfill is in fact a business.
“A reason for the tipping fees is because within the next four to five years new cells are going to have to be put in and it’s going to take quite a bit of money,” said Strand. Cells are what waste is dumped into at landfills, once the ones they have are full they will move onto the next one. However, there is a construction side to creating a cell and there needs to be a proper lining throughout it. This is where the cost comes in to building a new structure.
Strand discussed the cost of removing Freon and having to bring in an outside party to do the labor of it. Currently the cost of removing Freon is $12, it costs the landfill $8, making a total of $4 profit off of each Freon item. Strand’s pitch was to increase the Freon tipping fee by $5.
With their current project, tipping fees and free dumping to Mercer County employees it was suggested funds were beginning to drain. With the construction of new cells and closing of the old, the landfill looks to a pricey future according to Strand.
County Commissioner Duane Scheurer said, “The landfill is nowhere near broke, we can operate.” However informing fellow commissioners their need to look to the future with the landfill and know that construction costs four years from now won’t be as cheap as they are now. When it comes to construction time to build the new cells, they will be needing a way to pay for it.
Commissioner Wes Gunsch, believed the tipping increase was a good idea for the landfill. Meanwhile Commission Chairman Bill Tveit wondered what fee increases will bring. “That’s my concern if you get that fee too high you’re going to see more dumping on other properties,” says Tveit.
Freon being one of the major concerns, juggling with the fact of whether or not to accept them. Strand mentioned not accepting them may lead to people cutting the lines themselves which is the incorrect way to do so and crushing them isn’t an option either.
“The city of Beulah just raised garbage fees on the citizens and businesses. Starting the 1st of June the fees are going up, as I see it in a lot of the cities. As a discussion I had with Candace [Strand], I think we need to look ahead to see what we have to do to stay in compliance or stay up to speed on capping and making cells.” say Scheurer, making a motion to bring into effect the tipping fee increase to start Jan 1 of next year.

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