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City agrees to landfill deal with Billings

The last step in hauling Powell’s household garbage to Billings, Mont., was taken by the Powell City Council Monday night.

The council agreed to a five-year landfill agreement with Billings during its meeting Monday night. It will be effective July 1 if the Billings City Council gives its approval, as is expected, to several contracts with Powell and other clients Monday night.

Councilmen Myron Heny, Floyd Young, Jim Hillberry and Eric Paul voted yes while Councilman Josh Shorb, who has repeatedly expressed reservations about not taking the garbage to the Park County Landfill in Cody, voted no. Councilman John Wetzel was absent.

Powell will pay the posted rate of $26.06 per ton for disposing of its garbage, with a base rate of $23.48, a $1.41 surcharge and a $1.17 franchise fee.

Warren Transport Inc., which has facilities in Lovell, will haul the municipal solid waste (MSW) across the state line. The firm will charge Powell $500 per round trip, with four or five trips per week, depending on the time of year. That will cost around $162,000 annually.

Powell expects to pay Billings $165,000 annually in tipping fees, much less than the city would pay if it took its MSW to either Casper or Cody, according to proponents. However, in recent years the city has built a transfer station and bought two trailers, a cost of more than $1.6 million. About $650,000 of that came from state funds.

The dramatically lower tipping fees — the term for dropping off garbage — will make a major difference in the long run, according to Mayor Don Hillman, who has termed the agreement with Billings “a no-brainer.” The final offer from the Park County Commission was $72 per ton, down from an earlier quote of $90 per ton but still much higher than the Billings rate.

Either party can terminate the contract with 30 days notice. Powell will provide insurance coverage to Billings through the company that will haul the garbage.

Councilman Eric Paul said he thought it was going to be a one-year agreement. Hillman, City Administrator Zane Logan and City Attorney Sandra Kitchen said with the 30-day opt-out, the contract is not binding.

“You have an out,” Logan said.

This appears to bring to a close a long, at-times-dramatic process. The city began using the North Big Horn County Landfill in Cowley in early 2013 after the Powell landfill closed to large quantities of municipal solid waste (MSW) in September 2012. The county decided it wasn’t cost effective to invest the money to upgrade it to new water protection standards.

Powell had considered taking its MSW to the Casper landfill or the Park County Regional Landfill in Cody.

Paul said he wondered what this decision would mean in the future. He said he wanted to “look down the road.” That drew a swift response.

“Our primary concern is for the benefit of Powell,” Councilman Jim Hillberry said.

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2 comments

  • posted by Steve Moseley

    June 09, 2014 3:31 pm

    Paying $72 a ton when you could pay less than $25 wouldn't be shopping local, it would be shopping stupid. If the commissioners want Powell's business perhaps they're the ones who need to 'think local.'

  • posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    June 05, 2014 10:21 am

    So much for shopping local.

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