Recology Settlement Agreement Explained

County commissioners have decided the county will own and operate the Crestline landfill, but they are sending out requests for proposal from private companies to do the day-to-day garbage hauling in the county.

During a special meeting on Monday this week, much discussion was heard and ideas put forth by members of the commission subcommittee involved in the buyout of Recology as the solid waste haulers for Lincoln County.

Commissioner Paul Mathews, one of the subcommittee members, said the price to Recology for the landfill will be $386,000, which does anticipate some closing costs.

He said the buyout was needed for the county to be able to have some place to bury the trash after Recology suddenly cancelled their contract and stopped operation in mid-June, “and is more reflective of a settlement with them, to have them leave the county and not retain the contract they have had on the landfill.” The contract, signed in 2006, was slated to expire in the year 2055.

In looking at the numbers, Hooge said, “The price of the landfill itself, 320 acres, is $200,000 and 12.9 acre feet of water rights, and the rest has to do with heavy machinery equipment at the landfill and hauling equipment and dumpsters.”

Mathews said, “This is the cheapest possible alternative that we have found in the last several months we have worked on this. ” He continued, “After a lot of work with them, we came to the conclusion that we would own the landfill and also own the liability to close that landfill in 25 years, when the usefulness of Crestline is expired.”

Mathews said Recology was asking $800,000 per year to continue operations there, which he said the county simply could not do.

He said by the county keeping the land open, “It prevents us from having to pay the closing costs for right now, which is a settlement that is clean and clear with Recology.”

In the special meeting, commissioners approved taking money from the Lincoln County Water District General Fund and the Lincoln County Land Act to purchase the landfill and related equipment.

Then they approved transferring up to $700,000 from the Lincoln County Water Resource County Reimbursement Special Use account to the Lincoln County Water Resource County Reimbursement Capital Projects account for the above mentioned purchase.

Hooge recommended for a quick completion and signing of the settlement agreement, “because we are having to pay $25,000 a month, roughly $900 a day, to Recology to operate the landfill right now. It will be pro-rated, so the sooner we close, the less we have to pay.”

Subcommittee chair Adam Katschke said there are some things that are needed at the landfill as the county takes possession, and he mentioned need for a new office facility, a water well closer to the facility, a front end loader, electricity, a maintenance shop and hopefully to retain the welder. He said the man out there now “fixes everything.” He noted all of these items will be additional expenses the county will need to come up with.

At present, the County has a six-month contract with Western Elite at $50,000 a month, plus $36 tipping fee, to haul garbage to the Apex landfill site. Knowing the county could not do the hauling itself, Commissioners directed Hooge write a request for proposal.

By definition, “A request for proposal is a solicitation, often made through a bidding process, by an agency or company interested in procurement of a commodity, service or valuable asset, to potential suppliers to submit business proposals. It is submitted early in the procurement cycle, either at the preliminary study, or procurement stage.”

An RFP is used where the request requires technical expertise, specialized capability, or where the product or service being requested does not yet exist and the proposal may require research and development to create whatever is being requested.

Hooge said he hopes the RFP the bidding process, and final award, can be done by October.

The City of Caliente has also agreed to assign their solid waste contract to the county, the price would remain the same for one year, and after that year if there was a 10 percent increase in the cost, the city and the county could renegotiate.

In the public comment segment at the beginning of the meeting, Marcia Hurd offered a recommendation for an alternative solution for managing Lincoln County’s solid waste, collection, transportation and disposal, and to not take action right now on the items on the special meeting agenda, pending further study. However, the board did not discuss her ideas or act on them.

In the final public comment session, at the end of the meeting, Ron Williams, owner of Western Elite, complimented the board on the work they have done in putting together the settlement agreement. “I understand all the details and difficulties of what is involved in trying to provide solid waste service to a county the size of Rhode Island. And I am really pleased to see you are going to put it out to competitive bid, and that Western Elite had a chance to play a helpful part in all of this.” He even thanked Recology for being willing to come to a settlement.

Even though commissioners completed a lot of work on the settlement agreement with Recology, there remains more to be done. Issues to be discussed will be on the regular commission meeting agenda Aug. 15, as well as a landfill committee meeting to follow.

Items on the regular agenda include approval of the final agreement, the purchase and sale agreement, assumption agreement and agreement terminating the 2006 solid waste disposal contract.

That meeting will be followed by the landfill committee to discuss temporary operations at the Crestline landfill, recommend job descriptions at Crestline, creation of an enterprise fund for solid waste collection and disposal, options to recover costs of collection and disposal of solid waste, including, but not limited to, a special assessment or rate increase, develop bid packages for request for proposals to collect or to dispose of solid waste generated within the county, and the procedure and protocol for the collection of solid waste generated within the City of Caliente.

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