To advance a new five-county landfill, Idaho County may sink $500,000 from general fund reserves and be repaid one ton at a time, out of the tipping fees that will fund operation of a facility to be constructed near Council, Idaho County Commissioner Skip Brandt told the Free Press Monday, Dec. 12.
Adams County would also kick in $500,000 and Valley County would kick in $250,000.
Earlier discussions among Adams, Valley, Clearwater, Lewis and Idaho counties had contemplated splitting the up-front costs different ways. The group had looked at dividing the up-front cost into five even parts or dividing it according to the proportion of tonnage each county might send to the new landfill. Now the group is considering how three of the five could bankroll the project to the benefit of all five.
Brandt is anticipating two main benefits for Idaho County.
As one of the counties covering the start-up costs, the county could reap a 2 percent interest rate while recovering the front money, compared to much lower rates available through the state’s public investment system.
Then, as one of the counties using the landfill, in the short term, the tipping fees at Council would be lower than what the county presently pays to dump solid waste in Missoula, Mont. After the front money is repaid, the tipping fees would drop to about half the Missoula rate.
In September, the Free Press reported Idaho County has been sending about 40 tons of waste per day to Missoula at a cost of $26.36 per ton for the tipping fee on top of transportation costs. The article was the 11th the newspaper has published regarding the commission’s recent solid waste reform – a series which began in December 2014, when the commission stopped granting solid waste fee exemptions to agricultural property owners.