By: Lydia Crawley
The Parsons Advocate
The Tucker County Solid Waste Commission met in regular session to discuss the next fiscal year’s budget, welcome a new staff member and bid farewell to an exiting board member.
Board Accountant Mark Joseph presented a proposed budget for the 2024 Fiscal Year to the board. “The focus on the accounting report this meeting will be the presentation of the budget for the next fiscal year,” Joseph said. “What I’d like to spend our time on here is, look at the budget. So, as we move forward again, July first is the new fiscal year. So, we will have to prepare a budget and be ready to report on that on a regular basis.”
Joseph reported to the board on some expected changes to the upcoming fiscal year’s budget. The first change was in the expected tonnage brought into the facility by landfill customers. “What I wanted to do first is just give you an idea the key assumptions that are different from the previous year,” Joseph said. “Our total tonnage that we have a budget for this year is 82,691. That’s going to be about, roughly about, 10,000 more than we came in with last year, this coming year. From the best we can tell…We’re anticipating and additional, roughly 10,000 from what we’ve expect to finish out the year.”
Payroll changes in the upcoming fiscal year were also outlined by Joseph to the board. “The next big item here is payroll,” Joseph said. “Payroll is budgeted on increases to all full-time hourly landfill. Those, most of them have already been implemented. They will carry that forward. We had some overtime assumptions, which was eight and a half hours per pay for landfill and 10 hours per pay for all the leachate and Region VIII drivers. And then with the payroll, all payroll tax and benefits are also going to correspond with payroll increases. We have pretty big expenditures. We have…the PEIA expense. That is going to be up about 24 percent from the prior year.”
Board Member Dennis Filler commented on the increase. “That is a state mandated requirement,” Filler said. “But it affected all different things across the county. Its in different categories: the teachers are one, we’re in a different category, the Ambulance Authority is another category, so that’s how that works.”
Joseph said the board could expect a reduction in the costs associated to the hauling of leachate from the facility. “We will benefit a reduction at the expense of the leachate hauling. We are anticipating that the number of gallons will decrease by 1.8 million gallons. We expect that to be solvent somewhere between 60 to 70,000 dollars annual savings.”
Joseph also outlined the capital budget for the board. “And we have capital budget, which is, we’ll present that to you here, made up of a portable fence and Jody’s mission to add more money into the escrow for the construction of the new cell.”
Joseph also outlined how the increase in tonnage to the facility was going to impact the upcoming budget. “With the additional tonnage that we mentioned earlier, we could see our total revenues going from 3.8 million to 4.4 million in total revenue,” Joseph said. “That’s bringing tonnage up from 71,797 up to 82,691. That of course would increase the solid waste assessment fees, which is based on a tonnage amount. In terms of gross profit, that would be almost 500,000 dollars more going from 3.2 million here to 3.7 million in our budget year.”
Joseph informed the board that expenses have remained consistent in the upcoming budget. “For the most part, the expenses are staying pretty consistent,” Joseph said. “I think I mentioned to you earlier about the leachate expense going down. In terms of total expenditures for the landfill, we’ll be looking at this year 1,730,000 and that is going to drop down into 1,667,000.”
Filler noted an increase in maintenance and repairs in the 2024 budget. “Maintenance and repairs are going up 40,000 dollars,” Filler said.
Presiding Chair Mark Holstine said, “It’s always my advice to Jody to blow that number high cause I’d rather budget more than we need, then have to keep coming into the board and saying, ‘Hey, we just blew the budget by 60 grand.” Holstine said the increase also stemmed from an agreement with Region VIII where the Authority would be splitting the cost of replacing a tarp system.
Jody Alderman said his crews were also trying to keep older equipment in good working order. “We’ve still been trying to do some of the old equipment, too. So that we have good, reliable back-ups to go along with the new stuff.”
Alderman also said that an agreement with Region VIII has given the board stability in fuel costs. “We’re able to tell more now about exactly how much we are going to have because anything over that two or three dollars a gallon, Region VIII is picking up,” Alderman said.
“So, you have a stable price,” Filler said.
“In our agreement, yeah,” Holstine said. “So now the unpredictability on fuel prices is on their end, not ours…They agreed to it. We signed an addendum to the MOU to include the fuel surcharge.”
Joseph said, “If everything goes smooth. We don’t have any big changes and there aren’t any big changes in working capital, we should be cash positive to the tune of about 260,000 between now and the end of the next fiscal year,” Joseph said.
The Tucker County Solid Waste Authority approved the budget for the 2024 Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2023.
Holstine commented on the latest Leachate report to the board, “The last thing I’ll note on the leachate report,” Holstine said. “Just draw your attention to the 316,066 gallons removed from the site is the lowest amount of leachate we’ve trucked since 2011 and 12.” Holstine attributed this to the effectiveness of the Eco Mister system and care of the site. “The Eco Misters and taking care of the site.”
Board Member and Tucker County Commissioner Fred Davis said, “For all the rain we’ve been having, that’s awesome.”
Board Member Dennis Filler said, “The rain has been just recent, though. During this time period, we didn’t have a lot of rain so the Eco Misters would actually work more effectively.”
During the meeting, the board hosted a luncheon for existing board member Diane Hinkle. Hinkle was stepping down from the board after four and a half years of service. “I want to thank Diane for joining us for the last… four years,” Holstine said. “She didn’t know me from Adam when I asked her to join the board. I met with her and had a long conversation. She kind of knew what the deal was here which was a wreck, a mess. She wasn’t really sure she even wanted to be anywhere near it. Somehow, I convinced her to agree to join the board and brought her on. She’s been a valuable board member to us. Helped us through some pretty sticky times. She’s been very understanding when it got real sticky with what we were trying to do when me and Ray was digging up heaven up there and people were not happy. But it was a necessary evil. And I really appreciate it and thank you very much.”
“I really appreciated the offer to come back on the board,” Hinkle said. “After the first stint, which was a completely different story, so it was refreshing to come back to a board who is actually progressive and above board. And so, it’s been my pleasure and my honor really, to serve. I appreciate it.”
During the meeting, Holstine also introduced the board to the new office administrator. “I’d like to introduce everybody to Abby Simmons,” Holstine said. “She will be moving into Carol’s role over the next month or two. She will be our new office administrator and Carol will be retiring.” As part of her new duties, Simmons presented an update of the activities to the board for the first time and administered the roll call for the board. Simmons will be replacing retiring Office Administrator and board secretary/treasurer Carol Helmick over the next few weeks.
The next meeting of the Tucker County Solid Waste Commission will be held on Monday, July 24th at 3pm at the TCSWA office, 284 Landfill Road, Davis.