County dumpster

A county Dumpster site located outside Grangeville at the Fairview and Case roads intersection.

GRANGEVILLE – Idaho County’s solid waste contractor, Simmons Sanitation Service, Inc., of Kamiah, told the county commission Tuesday, Aug. 6, that garbage collection is once again on pace to total about 4,900 tons this year. That would again trigger an excess tonnage provision in the county’s contract with Simmons, which has resulted in payouts in addition to the regular contract amount: about $7,000 on 90 overage tons in fiscal 2017, and more than $21,000 on about 4,900 total tons in fiscal 2018.

In addition to those payouts, the Idaho County Commission discussed the possibility of taking on additional annual expenses to have Grangeville-area dumpsters at Fairview Road and near Country Court Trailer Park cleared more frequently.

Simmons Sanitation owner-operator Robert Simmons told the board that increasing service at the Fairview site – referred to in the contract as the Frei site – would require overtime for afternoon pickup or hiring extra employees.

Simmons said he would be willing to work with the county to figure out how much extra service is appropriate, as peak times for garbage collection usually tapers off after an October rush when the seasons change.

To cover the additional costs, the commissioners took up the possibility of raising the countywide solid waste fees by 4 percent, which would collect about $60,000 more for the solid waste fund each year. The board also discussed increasing the fee the county attaches to city residents’ property tax bills by $1 per parcel, which, along with the 4 percent increase, would net about $63,000 per year for the fund.

Commissioner Mark Frei told the board that constituents have been telling him that dumping by city residents is at the root of what he sees as a need for twice-a-day pickup at Fairview.

“That has fueled my desire to split ways with the city,” Frei said. “Let the city take care of all of their garbage and let county take care of its garbage.”

The county has long provided uncontrolled dumpster service, but the county has also long sought reforms that would put limits on the use of the county’s system by switching out the dumpsters for manned drop-off sites. The board has described doing that change in conjunction with development of a new Camas Prairie transfer station.

During the Tuesday meeting, Simmons told Frei he has continued to explore possibilities for locating drop-offs in the Grangeville, Cottonwood and Kooskia area, with a Kooskia site lease agreement looming and prospective sites under discussion near Cottonwood and Grangeville. Simmons said he will be having a conceptual engineering design drawn up so that the public can see what the drop-off sites he has in mind would look like, and he said that he will be presenting such a design to Idaho Forest Group.

“We could put something together on one-and-a-half acres, and two would be prime,” Simmons said.

Issues that could involve road upgrades or city area-of-impact concerns have not been clarified, Simmons told the commissioners. He noted he has “two leads” on locations in the Cottonwood area.

Earlier in the meeting, Simmons detailed the site-by-site dumpster allocation described in the contract, and noted that the dumpster site on Monastery Road near Cottonwood has been receiving substantial amounts of boiler ash; commissioner Denis Duman said both the Monastery of St. Gertrude and Prairie High School use boilers.

With the county poised to finalize its fiscal 2020 budget, solid waste issues will be on the agenda again next week, Aug. 14. The Free Press publishes the county budget – and many other local taxing district budgets – on the legal notices page each year.

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