Landfill Rates Drop - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Landfill Rates Drop

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Park County is trying very hard to keep its trash at home. The county offered to drop its rates by more than a third if Powell, Cody, and private haulers agree to a six year contract. Powell may still decide to take its trash to Casper, or even Billings.

Who wants more trash? Apparently, Park County, Casper, and Big Horn County. All three submitted bids to take Powell's municipal solid waste.

Park County built a new Department of Environmental Quality approved landfill, and needs volumes of trash to pay for it.

But, Park county charged $90 per ton last year, and wanted to charge $114 per ton this year. Powell left their home county dump in 2013, and hauled their waste to the neighboring Big Horn County.

They said the move saved them $70,000. Powell Mayor, Don Hillman, said they might save even more money by taking the trash to Billings or Casper.

At last November's meeting in Powell, he said, "It's our damn garbage. I mean, we're responsible for it, and we need to take care of it."

Park County officials crunched their numbers, and cut their municipal dumping fee down to $72 per ton, more than a 30 percent drop. They called city officials together Tuesday to discuss the terms.

Park County Commissioner, Loren Grosskopf said, "If there wasn't four million dollars of debt plugged in here, the rates wouldn't be $72. It'd be ten, twelve dollars less."

There were terms, of course. The rate would be $72 per ton, if Powell came in, and all parties agreed to a multi year contract. If Powell takes its trash elsewhere, then everyone else pays $78 per ton.

Park County Commission Chair, Bucky Hall, explained how they cut the rate, "We've gotten away from freebies and tried to make our pricing more consistent. We've worked on our interest rates, on our loans, foreclosure. It's allowed us to lower the rates."

But, are Park County's rates low enough to bring Powell back? Powell's mayor would not comment. He says he'll take the information back to his city council for a decision as late as mid February. Meanwhile, they'll consider a bid from Casper that is much lower than Park County's, and possible fees in Billings even lower. Of course, there's the added cost of hauling waste hours away.