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June 21, 2011 7:14 am

EDITORIAL: State support brightens landfill future

Written by Tessa Schweigert

Landfill worries have loomed on Powell’s horizon for years — where will Powell’s trash be taken? How much will it cost the city? Will there be an additional 1-cent tax to help fund a transfer station? And so on.

The city of Powell received some answers to those long-debated questions on Thursday when the State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB) provided $652,502 toward a Powell transfer station.

It’s welcome news for local leaders and residents who worried about what would happen when Powell’s landfill closes to household waste next year. A transfer station will serve as a new drop-off point for the city of Powell’s trash, reducing the amount of trips to the regional landfill in Cody. Basically, a transfer station allows the city trucks to dump trash as they have in the past.

Powell officials have long advocated for a transfer station, saying direct hauling to Cody would cause wear and tear on city sanitation trucks not designed for highway miles.

For Powell residents who have already seen multiple utility rate hikes in recent years, it’s important that local users don’t have to bear the entire cost of a transfer station through increased fees. It’s especially important to keep costs low for the sanitation fund and other utilities as the city looks at enacting a 4-percent franchise fee on its utilities — which could mean higher user rates down the road.

The state’s support helps curb costs at the local level. Powell is responsible for $619,654 of the roughly $1.3 million project, but the city’s 49-percent match will largely be met through in-kind work and land rather than rate increases, city leader say.

The state’s support also is significant since state requirements are the reason for Park County’s landfill changes. More stringent water quality requirements from the state Department of Environmental Quality require landfills across Wyoming to install liners and monitoring equipment to keep garbage runoff from leaching into groundwater.

Park County isn’t the only one struggling with expensive landfill issues, and it’s likely more counties and municipalities will seek SLIB funding. With Wyoming’s budget surpluses in recent years, it only seems fair for the state to help local governments fund landfill changes to meet state requirements.

While development for a Powell transfer station is heading in the right direction, obstacles remain. The city hasn’t yet secured funding for a $165,000 compaction trailer, which is necessary for hauling the trash to the Cody landfill.

Powell leaders also face opposition from residents whose land borders the transfer station site — 26 acres of city-owned property near the intersection of Lane 9 and Road 7.

Yes, some things remain unknown and unpopular. Some details must still be worked out — but thankfully with the SLIB funds, a large part of the equation is now in place.

With just a year remaining until the local landfill closes to household waste, it’s good to see Powell progressing in its plans for a transfer station.

1 Comment

  • Comment Link June 21, 2011 6:22 pm posted by clipstein

    Tax Money and how much has the Mayor and crew already wasted??????? One of these days no body is goin to give Powell a cent as they have wasted and wasted......it doesn't do any good to go to a city meeting as I remember when the meat plant was hot and heavy.......... if you did not agree with them--- they would YELL you down and about run you out the door...... remember Mr. Mayor??????
    The mismanagement of the city could line dumps in how many counties and buy new garbage trucks?????

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