Preble County Sanitary Landfill Expansion?

I attended this meeting and there is a video:



FEBRUARY 24, 2014

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I’d like to have included a link to the presentation data that was used for the PowerPoint presentation but so far it is not online, I did ask that it be posted.

Over a decade ago there was a political fire storm over the expansion of the landfill and possibility of filling it with some 3000 tons of trash a day. The people won that battle. This time around the discussion is to again expand to full capacity but take up to 500 tons a day.  The current daily EPA approved level is 0 – 200 tons a day and the next level (at added expense) is the 200 – 500 ton limit. Randy Gilbert who did this presentation mentioned a hoped for level of around 420 tons a day. This would mean increasing the current daily level by 4 to 5 times as last year the landfill took in only 29,000 tons.

The expected level back in the 2003 – 2004 was a hoped for 42,000 tons annually. Having fallen further and further from that goal the tipping fees were increased and the landfill assessment added to property taxes was increased 44% a couple years ago to make up the difference. The issue is that since those tax hikes the annual tonnage has continued to drop. During the hearings to raise the assessment the topic of taking in a limited amount of “out of county trash” to make-up for the short fall was discussed and frankly it is needed. The issue now is; How much?  My view at the time was getting it at least to the 42,000 tons and hopefully mid 50’s.  The proposal made at this meeting blows by that level and then some.

The changes made the last landfill fight kept it the way people were wanting but times and reality have changed and the original assumptions have not held.  The county instituted what is known as “flow control” that required trash generated in Preble County be hauled to the Preble County Landfill. That was necessary because the cost to trash haulers was so high that at the time a major trash hauler stopped hauling to the landfill and went elsewhere.  That was the original reason for flow control. Public claims that it was instituted to keep “out of county” trash from going to the landfill are false as trash companies can haul elsewhere cheaper making the claim a mute point.  As mentioned in this meeting the county has the ability to waive the “out of county” restriction but it would be meaningless unless the county lowers the cost for “out of county trash” haulers to a level that is cost effective for them to switch.  As shown in the video that level would be under the level paid by residents and businesses located in the county. This will undoubtedly lead to cries of the Preble County taxpayer subsiding out of county trash. It is a valid claim but the reason for doing so is to attract enough trash at the lower level to justify eventually lowering or eliminating the trash assessment on property taxes. That assessment has become a financial burden to both residents and businesses.

A possibility not mentioned in the presentation is the cost of closing the landfill at the nearest point in time that the $13 million post closing figure could be reached.  The theory is that if trash haulers drove by the Preble County landfill because the rates were too high then somebody is doing it for less. Continue paying the assessment for six or seven years at the current level to achieve the closure cost and hopefully the county residents and businesses can find a cheaper alternative for trash removal than they currently have. At the end of the six or seven year span all property taxpayers see the landfill assessment disappear and reap additional savings. The caveat is that Randy Gilbert mentioned there would be additional cost such as rounding off the edges before the landfill could be closed. For me this brings up the same goal mentioned by Randy earlier of lowering the cost enough to attract trash haulers.  You will hear Dave Wesler mention that no additional employees would be needed to handle the 500 tons a day. (Let me be clear on something; Rodney Creech who is challenging Dave for Commissioner in the May 6, Primary was in the room but said nothing during this meeting). Even if more employees were needed to exceed the 500 ton goal for closing as soon as possible it may be in the economic best interest of the property taxpayers in the county to have that occur.  We really don't know as the figures were not provided. The figures to do so and the time required will come at a cost but it might be time for Preble County residents and business owners to ask for them.

It was admitted in this video that the last time around “closure” was an option.  It should be an option at least for discussion this time also, especially when weighed against expansion to the south and west. Gilbert was charged with bringing the commission a plan that would run the landfill like a business and I believe he did that.

Do Gasper Township residents want a much larger landfill?

Do Preble County residents want a much larger landfill?

Residents fought against it over a decade ago and it is an issue gain. You better speak up in favor or against?



Preble County Sanitary Landfill Expansion? — 3 Comments

  1. I live in Gasper township. I oppose any expansion of the landfill. I also oppose the extra fees charged for the landfill. Lower your prices and get more business.

    • Beverly, time is of the essence; people that may have an interest in the issue need to be made aware of and watch the video and decide where they stand. Pass the video along.

  2. I'm just trying to get my head around why the county would want more trash than produced by county residents that the county could not convince some other locality to stick in its backyard.  I get the "we'll get money for storing the trash", but weighing that argument against the known and unknown legacy costs of storing trash suggests that the "you generate it, we'll stick it in our backyard" approach may very well be a lose-lose argument.