Details involving the not so forgotten funds the city borrowed from the landfill to meet the payroll for their employees were discussed last week as landfill director Bob Gaston approached the city council with a letter from ADEQ.
Details involving the not so forgotten funds the city borrowed from the landfill to meet the payroll for their employees were discussed last week as landfill director Bob Gaston approached the city council with a letter from ADEQ. “ADEQ has conducted their routine inspection of our facility detailing noted erosion cuts with exposed waste and I'm here to remind you that we will be held responsible,” stressed Gaston. Photographs of the city's facility were provided through the inspection documentation detailing the erosion that needs to be addressed in order to meet ADEQ specifications. Gaston reported that ADEQ was requesting an update on the progress. Phillips Fields, former engineer for ADEQ, reported that the Phillips County landfill had not failed an inspection since 2006 and it is hopeful that this anticipated expansion gets underway soon. “We are at a turning point where we need to make a decision on moving forward as to what this landfill is going to be,” commented Fields. Fields added it is estimated that the landfill will be out of constructive space for waste placement by October 1 2014. “If we do not have some landfill expansion done at that time, we're either going to have to voluntarily close this landfill down or be forced into closure by ADEQ,” stressed Fields. In order to get the expansion constructed, the contractors really need to be in position for contract by May 1, 2014 by June 1 the contract needs to be on the ground and doing a little bit of construction Fields explained. “This window is really too tight between the months of June and October, so we need to get something moving by that time,” continued Fields. Fields added that if this expansion doesn't happen, then the overall cost to the city would be phenomenal considering the city's financial problems. “We're talking the burning of waste, which is a tremendous cost to the city as it has to be transported to another landfill, costs of closure and the possible future costs to have it reopened,” said Fields. Fields explained that if the expansion was not implemented, the city would have 180 days to close the landfill, at roughly $1.2 million. “There are a lot of issues and costs that could be coming if we don't move forward with this requirement,” reported Fields. Fields said that currently the Phillips County landfill is one of the best in the state and it is encouraging the city to address this issue as quickly as possible. According the Fields the bidding for contractors is at least 30 days, so between March 1and April 30 the bids would need to be out. “It's really a two-edged sword,” said Gaston. “You can either find a way to pay the $340,000 that was borrowed to move forward with the expansion or come up with the 1.2 million to close the landfill.” The council agreed that closing the landfill is not an option. However plans as how to acquire new revenue to cover this requirement was at a standstill. According to Gaston the expansion account has only $100,000 and $340,000 is required to ensure the financial requests for the expansion be made. Council Christopher Franklin pointed out that the council is not the one that spent the $340,000 now needed for the expansion. According to Mayor Arnell Willis, due to budget problems, the city clerk made the decision along with the administration to borrow funds from other departments, the landfill was no exception. “We are being pressured to make a decision on the garbage trucks right now, but yet we're so far in the hole how can we afford this?” asked Franklin. Councilman Joe St. Columbia stated that the city council needs to put the revenue issue as a top priority and that it is mandatory that this issue be resolved. No action was taken by the city.