County commissioners finalize solid waste ordinance, schedule hearing for Monday

Steve Lyon
Washington County commissioners will hold a public hearing on Monday on a revised solid waste ordinance that simplifies regulations.
 The goal in revising the ordinance was to clarify non-resident use of transfer stations and add definitions. There was language in the old version of the ordinance that was removed because it was no longer applicable or confusing, officials said. 
 The ordinance does not include the fee structure for users or households. That is done separately by the county commission by resolution. 
 Earlier this week, commissioners said the solid waste disposal fees will remain the same for the current fiscal year. Currently, the county charges every parcel in the county a $56 solid waste fee annually. 
 Commissioners have worked on the changes to the ordinance for months. The revisions will also make it more equitable as far as who is paying what to finance the cost of running the solid waste operations in the county.
 In researching the solid waste fee that is assessed annually to each residence and business, commissioners said they were unable to determine how the formula for “units” to be charged was developed years ago.
 The commission has the authority in the revised ordinance to change the fees by resolution at any time, depending on what it cost to run the two solid waste transfer stations and cover dump fees at Clay Peak Landfill in Payette County, along with other expenses.  
 The county is not allowed under state law to make a profit from solid waste operations but merely to break even.
 Nonresidents who use the transfer station will have to pay the out-of-county user fee established by resolution. 
 A section in the old ordinance that required nonresident users of the transfer stations to pay $100 for a permit at the courthouse was deleted. 
 Nonresidents who dump at the transfer stations will be charged the fees at the location based on the weight.
 The revised ordinance defines a nonresident user as someone who dumps at the transfer station in a vehicle that does not have Washington County license plates.
 The ordinance also contains enforcement provisions for violators. A nonresident who doesn’t pay the county fee for using a transfer station could be guilty of a misdemeanor and face a fine of up to $300. 
 There also is a reference to any future tax levy to cover the cost of solid waste operations. If property taxes are levied to operate the solid waste system, the levy rate will be established through the annual budget process by the county commission.
 Washington County does not operate an EPA-permitted landfill. The county has two transfer stations where county residents can dump solid waste. 
 The transfer stations are also used by the city of Weiser’s garbage department and trash companies operating in the county.
 The county hauls all of the solid waste collected at the transfer stations to the Clay Peak Landfill in Payette County. 
 As of October, the county is charged $20 a ton to dispose of trash at the landfill. The current county budget allocates $170,000 to cover dumping fees at the Payette landfill.
 Last year, the county hauled about 8,100 tons of trash from the two transfer stations the county operates in Weiser and Midvale to Clay Peak landfill. 
 A copy of the proposed changes to the solid waste ordinance can be picked up at the county clerk’s office or reviewed on the county’s website. The public hearing will be held in the commisson room at the courthouse in Weiser at 2:30 p.m.


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