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County seeks $5.45 million in grants/loans for landfill closures

Shutting down parts of the Meeteetse, Clark and Powell landfills is going to be a multimillion dollar expense and Park County commissioners are hoping to get some help from the state of Wyoming.

The commission voted earlier this month to pursue $5.45 million in half-loan, half-grant funding from the State Loan and Investment Board for the closures.

The Meeteetse landfill shut its gates for good in the summer of 2010, while the Powell and Clark landfills will stop accepting household garbage a year from now to comply with state Department of Environmental Quality groundwater regulations. The county government, which runs all the landfills in the county, hopes to keep the Powell and Clark sites open to other materials, like dry construction materials, beyond September 2012.

The upgraded site near Cody is becoming the county’s regional landfill.

The city of Powell is constructing a transfer station to help get its household trash to Cody (see related story), while local private haulers may raise their rates to compensate for the added mileage.

Formal closure operations at the county’s landfills will include constructing a cover system over the top of the trash. That’s intended to keep rain and other precipitation from getting into the refuse, thereby reducing the risk of contaminated run-off from the garbage reaching groundwater. The work is slated to begin in the summer of 2012 in Meeteetse, 2013 in Clark and 2014 in Powell, but the county’s applying for State Loan and Investment Board money now because money is available.

While the low, 2.5 percent interest loans from Clean Water State Revolving Fund are expected to remain available, the state’s pool of money for principal forgiveness loans (effectively grants) may dry up.

“Applying for closure (funds) for landfills right now would be wise, rather than waiting and applying a step at a time, because nobody knows how long this money will be available,” said Commissioner Dave Burke.

The competition for the loans is expected to be pretty heavy this time around, but landfill projects have generally found favor with the State Loan and Investment Board, said Brian Edwards, a consultant for the county with Cody’s Holm, Blough and Company.

The county’s application requests $3.4 million for the Powell landfill’s closure, $1.1 million for Meeteetse and $950,000 for Clark.

Parts of the Cody landfill that are currently being used will also need to be closed in coming years, but that work is likely too far off to qualify for funding now, Edwards said.

Commissioner Tim French expressed concern about borrowing money, but said he’d support the application as long as the county can pay it back quickly, instead of over the span of, say, 20 years.

The county will pay back the money with the tipping fees that garbage customers pay at the landfill.

Fees, which rose from $60 a ton to $90 a ton in 2010, are next slated to rise in 2015. If the county receives no zero-percent interest funding from the state, rates would likely need to increase to $101.25 a ton, Edwards said. If the State Loan and Investment Board were to grant the county’s request, and make half of a $5.45 million effectively a grant, rates would rise to $97.20.

“It would help keep the rates down a little bit,” Edwards said. Because of the large amount of cash needed right away for closing the old landfill cells and building the new ones, without loans “what that rate (tipping fee) would need to be is scary,” he said.

The county’s application must be pre-approved at the State Loan and Investment Board’s Oct. 6 meeting.

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13 comments

  • posted by Cooker

    October 02, 2011 9:29 am

    Just plain DUMB... I agree wit Clipstein, make those responsible for the mess clean it up!

  • posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    October 02, 2011 7:08 am

    "Cry babies"? We'll see who runs crying when your taxes go through the roof to pay for all these boondoggle snake oil projects you people want so bad.

  • posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    October 01, 2011 6:33 am

    We'll see who the cry babies are when YOUR taxes go up to pay for all these fat cat BS boondoggle pork projects that YOU people want.Many folks are on fixed incomes and can NOT afford more taxes and higher fees just because a few bigots want THEIR way.Powell needs some serious house cleaning of phony RINO's who CLAIM to be CONSERVATIVES,yet act like the very LIBERALS you all hate so much.

  • posted by Wayne Gullickson

    September 30, 2011 3:36 pm

    You cry babies have been whining now for several years. It is just not working for you so stop the finger pointing and get involved. Get out in the public and make a difference- you might understand what our elected officials are up against or you might actually make a point for yourselves.

  • posted by TB

    September 30, 2011 12:12 pm

    There ought to be a statue of a fool at each end of town,for all the world to see,dedicated to the fools who fell for these tea pot dome boondoggles that will rob you from now on.Obviously,the fools who were part of the problem sure are not part of the solution.How do you spell hypocrisy and RINO?

  • posted by clipstein

    September 29, 2011 1:31 pm

    how about the ones who wanted this mess, stepping up and taking care of the mess they help create this mess.... of course a beer company and its distributor just step up to the plate as they wanted this mess. wonder what they are going to do in the future as more and more are going north to shop??

  • posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    September 29, 2011 12:09 pm

    Oh there will be some running ok,out of this town pronto as soon as I get enough money saved.I have had it with this hole,after almost 40 years of Powell and it's hypocrites and RINO's I have had enough.I want no more of this downtrodden and phony leadership Powell produces.

  • posted by 68ford

    September 29, 2011 9:44 am

    When one of you whiners runs for office I might take you seriously.

  • posted by Wayne Gullickson

    September 28, 2011 3:32 pm

    I hope to see one of these three run for city office in the near future that way they can make the changes happen that they believe in ( clipstein, disgusted taxpayer, salty dawg- step up to the plate!!!)

  • posted by clipstein

    September 28, 2011 7:33 am

    This is stupid and you cannot fix stupid.
    Waste the money and destroy a town and then tell us we don't have a right to an opinion........june 19th 2008 editoral.
    Now who should have listened to who?????? the whole darn bunch should be in jail.... if we pulled what they have--that is where they would want us.

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