City Administrator Zane Logan said he was glad to see the process get underway. Logan said he discussed it with his wife and told her how relieved he was to see the discussion come to a halt and the actual work start.
“It’s been many years, about eight or 10, really a lot the last three or four,” he said. “It’s nice to have a decision made, the council made a decision. We’ll see how it goes. Now we can get onto other stuff. We have other things to deal with.”
Park County Commissioner Tim French stopped at the Tribune office June 30 and said he hopes Powell will bring its business, and garbage, back to the county landfill someday. Logan said that is possible.
“If things change and the numbers change, we’re always open to that,” he said. “We’re not tied down to Billings. We’re always looking at options.”
But on July 1, Vance Naylor of Warren Transport hauled the initial load across the state line, departing from the city’s transfer station at 7:45 a.m.
Naylor estimated it would take him five hours to drive the 94 miles from the city’s Municipal Solid Waste Transfer Station, located on North Ingalls Street between Fourth and Fifth streets, to the Billings landfill, drop the 17 tons, and return the city’s trailer to Powell.
Warren Transport Inc., which has facilities in Warren, Mont., and Lovell, is paid $500 per round trip. The hauling contract will cost around $162,000 annually, with Warren Transport providing the insurance that Billings requires from its clients.
It’s all part of the new process, since the Powell City Council voted to take its MSW to Billings, lured by a $26.07 tipping fee, the term used for dropping off a load. That’s in comparison to the $72 fee offered at the Park County Landfill in Cody.
The Billings City Council approved a five-year deal with Powell last month. Either side can opt out with 30 days notice.
Powell estimates it will spend about $165,000 annually at the landfill taking four to five loads a week there depending on the time of year. More garbage piles up during warmer months.
The city studied the decision for years, and while doing so it built the transfer station for about $1.43 million, with about half of that paid by a grant from the State Loan and Investment Board.
It also bought the transfer trailer from Nexgen Municipal Inc. of Burlington, Ontario, Canada, for $172,114, with most of the money coming from a state grant. Earlier this year the city ordered a second one for $198,526; it is slated to arrive in August, giving the city a backup and allowing it to rotate the trailers, reducing the wear and tear on them. The current trailer holds more than 17 tons; the new one will take more than 21 million tons.
Sanitation/Public Health Superintendent Darrell Rood admitted he was “a little nervous” watching the first load depart.
“We’re old, been here a long time, and things are changing,” Rood said with a smile.