County to hold public hearing on solid waste fee increase

Shown above is the transfer station, located off Highway 95, that receives city and county trash. The site sends between 8,500 and 9,500 tons of refuse to the Clay Peak landfill in Payette every year. Photo by Philip A. Janquart.
Philip A. Janquart
County commissioners will hold a public hearing Monday, June 24 at 1 p.m. to discuss a proposed solid waste user and law enforcement towing fee increase.
 The hearing will be in the commissioners’ meeting room at the Washington County Courthouse, located at 256 E. Court St. in Weiser.
 Under the proposed fee schedule, law enforcement towing fees would jump from $250 to $350.
 The public will also have the chance to comment on the proposed solid waste user fee. If approved, the increase would raise the current $68 annual fee to $102. Breaking it down, it comes to $8.50 per month for most users. It is currently $5.60.
 For the most part, the increase is the same across the board for most users, with the exception of apartment complexes (per housing unit), which would go from $56 to $84; motels (per housing unit), from $42 to $63; and circuit breaker, from $50 to $75.
 A fee increase is needed to match an increase in fees to Washington County to take trash from the transfer station, located off Highway 95 near the Weiser Trap and Skeet Club, to Clay Peak east of Payette.
 Household garbage in Weiser is picked up by the City of Weiser and taken to the transfer station. In the county, companies like Hardin Sanitation also drop off its household garbage at the station. 
 It all ends up at Clay Peak.
 “We have been anticipating a contract fee increase from the land fill over at Clay Peak for the last few years,” explained Washington County Road and Bridge and Solid Waste Supervisor Jerod Odoms.
 “We’ve kind of been holding our breath,” he said. “Finally, they told us this year that they are going to implement that increase, which is five dollars a ton more to the county. That’s a substantial increase when you consider we take 8,500 to 9,500 tons of material to Clay Peak every year. Everybody’s costs are going up. In order to cover those costs, we have to have a special fee increase. Either that or we reduce service and that is something the commissioners did not want to do.”
 Odoms added that the transfer station is seeing more use, causing the county to exceed its contractual weight limits at Clay Peak.
 “8,500 to 9,500 tons is pretty substantial, and there’s been an increase; I’ve watched it really pick up,” he said. “We’ve been above our 8,500 tons a year and we’ve been above that for the last three years. As I said, we were anticipating this and figured we would have to do it eventually. We were hoping it wouldn’t be so high, but that’s what Clay Peak told us, so we have to match it.”
 Odoms cited growth as the reason for more material showing up at both the transfer station and Clay Peak.
 “Because of the population increase, they (Clay Peak) are seeing more volume, so they are having to do more.”
 There have been rumors that Clay Peak is closing in on its life expectancy, a notion Odoms said is only partially true.
 “With the landfill, you are basically on a timeline, and that timeline can be for a few years or a hundred years, but we don’t anticipate Clay Peak closing its doors in the next few years,” he said 
 “It’s just that the cells are designed to hold so much and with population increase and growth, they are filling up faster than anticipated. They are working on opening their third cell, which, I believe, is their last cell up there. They will have several more years of operation through that.”
 Washington County, however, isn’t going to wait to come up with solutions when that time comes.
 “We have a good number of years before we have to do anything drastic, but as the solid waste supervisor, I do want to plan for the future,” he said. “We are looking at some short-term, mid-term, and long-term solutions.”
 He noted that part of the solution is to continue separating out material that can be recycled or reused.
 “One of the least expensive and easiest things to do is to reduce the stream by pulling more out of the tipping floor because everything that goes on the tipping floor goes to Clay Peak,” Odoms explained. “So, construction material that is good, we are trying to pull out and save to put in the ‘free’ shed that people can use. We do find items that are still in great shape that people can use. We try to separate as much metal as we can for recycling. Those sorts of things we can do easy, and now.”
 In the future, Odoms said he wants to start recycling things like cardboard.
 “I’m hoping in the next year or two we have a system set up where we can manage that,” he said. “That would reduce the stream and then maybe move into a bigger recycle-type facility within the next five to 10 years.”
 The next project would be to build a new landfill within the county.
 “Our long-term goal is to look at the feasibility of maybe a regional landfill, but that’s a huge undertaking with lots of hoops and a whole lot of money, so that is a very long-term, far-out project.”


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18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
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