Landfill proposal dumped

Plan used faulty figures to come up with savings

Amy Hamilton

Moffat County commissioners denied a proposal Tuesday that would have shipped county trash to the Milner landfill instead of the Moffat County landfill in Craig.

Though the president of Milner’s Twin Landfill, Les Liman, originally estimated the switch could save the county $2.6 million in six years, he said at Tuesday’s meeting that those numbers were based on incorrect county information.

According to Liman’s figures, the millions of dollars in savings were based on trash expenses of $50 a ton — prices he figured reflected Moffat County’s costs to handle trash.

Last year, Moffat County spent $34 a ton to handle roughly 18,000 tons of trash. In 2001, the county spent $28.28 a ton.

This year, the county expects it will spend $25.72 a ton for trash expenses.

Currently, the county charges users $22.50 a ton — a fee that is up $6.50 a ton from last year.

Cost differences between user fees and landfill costs should come from property taxes. Last year, $161,000 in tax dollars was put toward the landfill, compared to the more than $300,000 allocated the year before. However, this year, the landfill received no property tax dollars.

“I’m really thinking in long run, the costs to Moffat County could decline,” Liman said of the benefits of starting service with the Milner landfill.

Liman’s proposal included building a transfer station on First Street either at a cost to the county or to Twin Landfill. The possibility of a recycling station may have been included in the deal, he said.

Commissioners and department leaders from the Moffat County Road and Bridge Department posed questions to the plan. At issue is how to transport liquid waste from a Craig transfer station to the Milner landfill 29 miles east.

Moffat County has a vehicle specially designed for that purpose — equipment Twin Landfill doesn’t have. Currently, the Milner landfill

doesn’t accept liquid non-hazardous materials.

Officials also questioned how to manage county personnel if it contracted out landfill services.

If accepted, the Moffat County landfill would have to be staffed to some degree for the sake of security.

But by far the largest roadblock keeping county officials from committing to the deal was an uncertainty that it would actually save dollars in the long run.

Recent investments and shifts in personnel management at the county landfill are expected to pay off as soon as this year.

As of last month, landfill costs for 2003 are $247,528. But that doesn’t include personnel dollars taken from the Road and Bridge Department to run operations, said Linda DeRose, the area’s administrative supervisor.

Though she couldn’t estimate how much money the landfill would save, she thought contracting out the service might become a “hassle.”

The extra 29 miles Craig and county residents would have to travel from places such as Maybell and Dinosaur to dump trash, may increase the

likelihood of it not reaching its destination.

“If people can’t take it to the landfill, it might end up in the ditches and leading to more (unauthorized) dumping,” she said.

If Liman’s proposal is resubmitted, Commissioner Darryl Steele said he’d look at it again, but not in the context of an organized meeting.

“In my opinion, it’s basically a dead deal,” he said after the meeting. “I think we’re already in the process of dropping our landfill operating costs.”

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or

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