By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Mark Joseph, Certified Public Accountant, offered valuable data and projections to the Tucker County Solid Waste Authority as it pertains to the Tucker County Landfill. Joseph was the CPA who worked with the landfill on their rate case with the Public Service Commission making him familiar with the operations of the facility. “I think it’s important to have him help guide us as we move forward,” said acting SWA Chair Mark Holstine.
“You can see the income on the year to date basis is up $1,109,375.12 to $1,252,020.85, that’s about a 13% increase from the prior year to date,” explained Joseph. A lot of the income is contributed to the rate increase that took place earlier this year, along with a reduced expense of employment.
Joseph directed the attention to a graph that compared the tonnage received each month, each ending on November 30 in 2019 and 2020. Up until September of 2020, each month in 2019 showed a higher intake of waste when it shifted to 2020 providing more in September, nearly even in October, and again higher this November. When looked at numerically, on the same year to date basis the landfill is experiencing a 6.24% decrease in tonnage.
The current ratio analysis sheet offered a breakdown of current assets and liabilities involved with the landfill. “What this current ratio actually measures for is our ability to meet short term financial obligations, that’s our ability to pay the vendors that we’re doing business with, it’s the ability to pay payroll and the payroll taxes,” said Joseph, with the goal to be at 1.0 or higher. As of October 31, 2020, the current ratio without the escrow is 4.1 and with that account, it is 1.40.
Projected purchases were listed which included two water tankers, a compactor, two trucks, a bulldozer, and cell overlays and construction totaling over $2 million. Between September and November, $566,235 was spent on the purchase of an excavator and two trucks needed at the landfill.
Holstine confirmed, “We are moving in a positive direction.” He thanked the board for their assistance and oversight, though noted a lot more work is needed, “Especially in terms of compliance with the permit.”
Vice President Dennis Filler made a motion to approve the agenda with a minor correction with a second from Board Member James Alford and all in favor.
Being there was not a meeting in November, there were two sets of board reports that Tucker County Landfill Office Manager Carol Helmick presented. October tonnage amounts were 5,726.61 tons with November totaling 5,218.27 ton, which is collectively slightly higher than the tonnage from the last fiscal year.
In October, there were 473,265 gallons of leachate hauled and 531,509 gallons in November, bringing the fiscal year total to over two million gallons. Helmick explained that the financials are being entered into the system slightly different, and stated, “So on the aged receivables for October, we had $294,049.27, and out of that, $16,212.89 was not collected by the end of November.” The board reviewed the check register and the Fifth Third bill and acknowledged receivable.
Holstine moved into the director’s report, stating, “We did receive approval on the new cell today.” Work began in that new cell shortly after the approval was announced which will assist in haulers not having to trek up the hill during the winter months. “I’m really pleased with where we’re at,” he said.
Jody Alderman, Tucker County Landfill Director, announced that a deal was made to purchase a new Kenworth road tractor in November to haul leachate and a duplicate of that truck was ordered and expected to arrive in March. A new F-250 pickup was also ordered but will not arrive for a few months. All were purchased through the state contract. The new dozer has yet to be received and is expected to arrive within the coming week.
The compactor has significant wear on the articulated bearing and while still functional, it is unknown how long it will remain operable. Repair costs of that bearing mechanism can run between $25-30,000, therefore options are being sought on the potential of purchasing a new compactor. A new model of compactor is being considered with tentative dates on the calendar to visit a landfill using one of the new models to ensure it would be efficient for the landfill.
Nathan Walter from Sunrise Sanitation who took over Preston Sanitation participated in the meeting and spoke to the SWA about the account owed to the landfill that they inherited when they took over that account. Holstine and Walter discussed a potential resolution to settle the past due account, which Holstine proposed offering an 18% discount if paid in full. This will aid in paying towards long term accounts owed by the landfill, such as Cleveland Brothers. The original amount owed was $44,529.88 and the discount would bring the total down to around $36,500 if paid immediately. “I think it’s a fair offer,” suggested Holstine. Alford made the motion to approve the discount with Board Member Chris Lowther offering a second. All board members were in agreement it was the best option for both parties and all voted in favor.
Holstine requested a motion to open negotiations with the Region VIII SWA which was provided by Filler and Alford offered a second. In the past, Region VIII brought their waste to the Tucker County Landfill which ceased due to finances which led to them hauling to transfer stations out of state. Holstine believes that contract runs out at the end of 2021 and a new hauling contract would be needed, which led Holstine to contact that director to discuss the potential of bringing that waste back to Tucker County. The Frostburg Md. station is actually set to close within the next two or three years, which would also pose a need to look for other options for those contracted with that transfer station. This motion would allow Holstine and Alderman to begin negotiations on potential contracts moving forward with Region VIII.
The tonnage that would be associated with locking into a contract with Region VIII would be approximately 23,000 tons of waste. This would lead to a decrease in time to begin consideration of yet another cell construction. “So it is a little bit complicated whether it would work out or not to our benefit,” said Holstine. He, Joseph, and Ray Keller of the Solid Waste Management Board have been discussing the benefits and challenges this would present to the landfill. Holstine assured no decisions would be made without the SWA involvement, he was requesting permission to begin discussion and negotiation. After brief discussion on the matter, all members voted in favor of beginning communication between parties.
A Christmas bonus for full time employees proposal was suggested with Alford and Lowther motioning to approve. A bonus has been offered to employees in the past; however it has not been done recently due to the financial hardship and circumstances of the landfill. “We’ve asked a lot of those employees, those that responded in a very positive manner are still with us,” stated Holstine. “I’m going to make a proposal that we give them all, each a $500 bonus at the end of the year,” Holstine stated, and it will be explained that the bonus is not guaranteed in the future and not an entitlement. “This one specifically is in recognition of all the changes that have occurred, the effort they have put in to help us salvage that operation, and a gesture from the board in gratitude for their hard work,” he said. All members voted in favor of the motion.
A revised version of the by-laws was sent to the board for review prior to the meeting. Filler made a motion to approve the by-laws as presented with Board Member Diane Hinkle making a second. All members voted in favor of the motion.
This concluded the business for the SWA until they meet again on Monday, January 25 at 3 p.m. with the goal of holding the meeting at the Tucker County Courthouse Courtroom.