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After climbing in first month of new system, trash revenue dips

Sep 25, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff Writer

Solid waste officials said they want to collect revenue totals for at least six months to gauge how the fee format is working.

Revenue collected from the county's seven trash transfer stations saw a roughly 20 percent drop in August compared to the previous month.

A report provided to the Fremont County Solid Waste Disposal District board showed August revenues at $4,024 compared to $5,066 in July.

In June, the first month with the new staffing and reduced hours at the seven sites, revenues totaled $2,004.

The reason for the drop was not clear, but solid waste officials said they want to collect revenue totals for at least six months to gauge how the new system is working.

"We're looking at a minimum of six months to see if this works out," board chairman Mike Adams said at the group's meeting Monday.

With a half year of revenue figures, "that would be a fair chance" to evaluate the schedule, Adams said.

District superintendent Andy Frey told the board that perhaps a few more months, even a year, would be preferable to "try to give it an opportunity to be successful."

The solid waste board implemented a rotating schedule at the seven transfer stations not on the Wind River Indian Reservation to collect appropriate revenues from users.

Each of the transfer stations in Missouri Valley, Pavillion, Hudson, Atlantic City, Jeffrey City, Lysite and Shoshoni is open three to four times a month. Previously they were open 24/7.

The solid waste district is continuing to work with the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes on a new management contract for the four reservation

transfer stations.

The contract for the sites in Ethete, Fort Washakie, Crowheart and on 17 Mile Road expires in mid-December.

The reservation trash sites do not have the limited hours or staff collecting fees as the other stations around the county. Frey said the revenues at the seven transfer stations could adjust when the same rules apply at the reservation sites.

"Additionally, with what's going on on the reservation, we don't have control of the waste stream," he said. To gauge the system's success, "maybe a more realistic time frame would be a year."

The revenues collected at the seven sites in August reflect a significant decrease in the amount of trash collected at the Missouri Valley station, where illegal dumping occurred.

"There has been waste in front of the gate again at the Missouri Valley transfer station," according to documentation provided to the district board.

"This site has received the largest amount ... of illegal dumping in front of the gate (of the 7 sites that are staffed). This has been an issue at this site approximately 4-5 times now," the district report stated.

The amount of household waste collected at the Missouri Valley station was about 12 tons in July and 1.54 tons in August.

The site continues to collect a large amount of construction and demolition debris, with roughly 4 tons in July and 7.61 tons in August.

The Pavillion site also showed a sharp decline in trash collected over the last three months, dropping to about 7 tons in August from 32.11 tons in July and 46.44 tons in June.

The August revenue figures marked the first time since the staffing and schedule changes that the seven sites collected more revenue than the garbage's worth at 4 cents a pound.

With revenue collected at $4,024, the equivalent value at 4 cents a pound charged at the landfill scales would have been $3,204, according to the district.

The new staffing and schedule changes have resulted in the district making fewer hauls from the seven transfer sites to the landfills for dumping.

The district made 15 hauls for municipal solid waste and two for construction and demolition debris in August, compared to 133 total during the same month last year.

The decrease is obvious from just two months earlier in June, when the district made 83 total hauls from the seven sites and 123 during the same time in 2011.

"We're saving a huge amount," board member Jeff Hermansky said about the decrease in money spent on hauling trash.

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