Tucker County Landfill Preparing for Potential Rate Increase

The Tucker County Landfill is preparing for a $5.80 per ton rate increase, planned to take effect July 1 with a new rate of $53.30 per ton.

By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate

It was discussed at the January Solid Waste Authority meeting, composed of new board members and acting Executive Chair Mark Holstine, that an increase of the rates needed to be considered. During a conversation with the Public Service Commission (PSC), he said, “It does look like we’re going to get an order approving the rate and so with that news, we are going to start charging the new rate July 1.” Currently, the rate is $47.50 per ton but will increase by $5.80, which will bring the new rate per ton to $53.30. New signage has been made and will be installed which will also begin a new fiscal year. The $2.2 million closure escrow account will also soon be able to be accessed leading to a lot of changes in the coming months at the Tucker County landfill.

The minutes from May 19 were approved with a motion from board members Diane Hinkle and Dennis Filler. Solid Waste Management Board Attorney Ray Keller provided the board reports in place of secretary Carol Helmick. “Tonnage for the month of May was 5,294 tons, tonnage to date for the year is 58,438 (tons) and we are down currently 10,970 tons compared to this time last year,” stated Keller. Hinkle asked if there was a particular reason for the continuous decrease, which Keller attributed to the Moorefield sludge that is no longer accepted along with an overall decline in the hauler garbage received. “And that, we are not sure why that is,” he added. He stated that Tygarts Valley is also experiencing a decrease in tonnage along with the Tucker County facility.

Holstine asked if the numbers indicated remaining on track for the estimated tonnage for end the fiscal year, which Keller replied, “Yes, if we hold true with the numbers this month that I think we’re going to get in, we should be right around 63,500 or 64,000 for the year.” He continued, “It’s less than what we budgeted for, but the virus, we couldn’t have planned for that.”

As for leachate removal, 793,778 gallons were hauled out for a total cost of $19,844. This amount has continued to decrease and is less than this time last year. Zane Kisner has been hired as a new leachate driver with former driver Bob Harper being assigned the role of supervisor.

May’s accounts receivable came in around $240,000, though approximately $303,000 is owed, some accounts being received via monthly payments. Accounts payable were lower for the month of May than in months past at $63,649; however, Keller explained, “Our overall accounts payable is $163,854 and $100,000 of that is the Cleveland Brothers and Radabaugh, and we’re slowly paying those down, too.”

The income statement displayed revenue for May of $249,954.87, with Hinkle commenting, “There’s a lot of good numbers in there when I look at the year to date compared to last year’s year to date.” A net loss was documented at $82,422, which doesn’t take into account the depreciation value which decreases, bringing the net loss to $30,158. “It’s nice to see revenue up and expenditures down,” proclaimed Hinkle.

The balance sheets, check registry, and credit card statements were reviewed by the board also noting the top 10 customers at the landfill. “We’re headed back into the black and we’re planning on staying there hopefully, so we’re going to have some unexpected repair costs but that’ just part of the beast up there,” stated Keller.
Holstine gave the directors report informing the board he and Keller recently met with Grant County Bank to discuss the loan which is in excess of $2 million. It was discussed the potential to lower the interest rate, which Holstine noted they have been a pleasure to work with. The goal is to take the current 4.75% rate down nearly one point, which will save around $9,000 per year in loan repayment.

The money received from the construction escrow account is being spent towards repairs and equipment rentals with money left thanks to frugal spending. A lease agreement with Nicholas County has secured a compactor for the facility which is now on site.

A pre bid opening for the construction of the new call (7B) which yielded 13 contractors. The contractor of the liner agreed to honor his previous bid given two years ago, which significantly benefits the facility. The bid opening, originally scheduled for last week, will now take place on July 1 at 11 a.m. at the landfill office. “We are moving forward with a lot of administrative stuff but soon you’ll see a lot of actual, physical things happening at the site,” stated Holstine.

Holstine was contacted by the attorney representing the former executive director, saying, “He has an interest in looking at the financials from the past.” Keller will be in touch with his attorney to determine what he is in need of and how to get that information to them. Keller and the other attorney will engage in a conference call to discuss this situation.

There wasn’t any new business to discuss moving into unfinished business consisting of the PSC investigation. “There’s a lot of activity as of yesterday,” began Holstine. A second set of discoveries has been made by the attorneys of Miners and Merchants Bank, which he just received and is in the process of reviewing. “They’ve also put in a discovery request of the Solid Waste Management Board so I’ll have a couple sets of discovery questions to work on over the next week or so, but we’ll get that taken care of,” he confirmed.

The board discussed the employee handbook last month with changes needing made noted. A revised copy with the changes made being highlighted was meant to be sent to the board for a final review, however those were not received. The board will be resent those modified handbooks and it will be discussed next month.

Holstine briefed the board that there may be some changes in the anticipated cost to construct the new cell. “Some things were done in the past that has damaged the existing liner that is sticking out,” he stated in addition to a damaged rain flap that will add to the overall cost. “There was also some geosynthetic protective layer that was damaged and that’s already gone, so we had to add some quantities from what was previously thought that would have to be up there,” he added. The proper quantities will be bid by the contractors, but Holstine said he’s afraid the rain flap will result in a change order. “It’s unfortunate, but not a lot we can do about it so we just have to work with what we got and make it right to move forward,” Holstine said.

The board members are coordinating with Holstine to partake in an on site visit since being restricted with the COVID-19 pandemic. There were no guests in attendance resulting in no public comments for this meeting. The next monthly meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 21 at 3 p.m.

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