From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 4, Number 41 - January 6, 2005
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Linn tackles landfill issue

by Cat Urbigkit

John Linn spent half a day on the job Tuesday as the county's newest county commissioner before raising the issue of the county sanitary landfill and the rate being charged to Teton County for using the landfill.

With the current push by state officials to regionalize landfills, Linn said he fears that Sublette County could end up getting garbage from throughout western Wyoming, especially when, "from what I can tell, Sublette County is doing it for nothing."

Linn said the county "owes it to themselves, to look to the future and to really understand where we stand in the cost and revenue side of things."

He said that while Sublette County is providing a state-of-the-art facility that may serve as the model for the rest of the state, "I still don't think that we understand the cost of what we're doing ... as to what we need to charge."

Commission Chair Betty Fear told Linn to "cut to the chase" - that what he was really saying is that he felt Sublette County should be charging Teton County more for use of the landfill.

Linn confirmed: "Immensely more ... We should be charging the most."

Linn said he felt that when you provide a premium service, you should charge a premium, instead of the $12.50 per ton dumping charge assessed to Teton County, when Teton County charges $50 at its own transfer station.

Commissioner Bill Cramer pointed out, "We've never lost money on the landfill."

Cramer added that Teton County is also part owner of the Marbleton landfill facility. He said that there is nothing to keep Teton County from going to the Bureau of Land Management seeking a permit for a landfill in Sublette County that would be the Teton County landfill.

"We're the operator, but jointly we're the owner of that facility," Cramer said.

Cramer said that Sublette County receives between $30,000 and $34,000 per month in income from Teton County in dumping fees. As a result, Sublette County charges a fairly nominal fee to its own residents.

The revenue from Teton County also allows Sublette County to put $4,000 a month into a reserve fund for the landfill, Cramer said.

"We are making money off their use of our facility," Cramer said.

Linn said he doesn't understand why non-commercial people within the county can't dump for free.

Fear pointed out that people who live in town pay to have someone haul their garbage, so they don't have the luxury to store and haul it to the landfill to take advantage of the free dump.

Fear also said that the county charges only a nominal fee.

"Nowhere in the world could you dump for that amount of money," Fear said.

Linn said he believes the county needs to understand all of its landfill costs better and be able to justify the price it charges.

Fear said, "Let's find out." She asked Frank Grimes of Nelson Engineering and Sublette County Waste Manager Rick Hoffman to bring back some figures to the commission for consideration at the commission's Feb. 1 meeting.

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