County discusses landfill construction

Friday, December 11, 2015

QC Finance Committee Discuses Landfill Department

By TOM HENRY

Blytheville Courier News

The Mississippi County Quorum Court Finance Committee met Wednesday afternoon to discuss the county landfill, financing for landfill improvements, a personnel matter and the current status of landfill equipment.

Mr. Paul Crawford of FTN and Associates in Little Rock presented options to the Finance Committee pertaining to financing the Landfill's new cell construction project, as well as the new leachate system to be built.

He passed out a handout that listed four construction projects the landfill will be facing, their estimated dates of construction and their estimated costs. "Cell 15 of Phase 2 of Class 1 landfill" is expected to be constructed from March through June of 2016 at a cost of $2,038,412. The "Leachate Treatment System" is expected to be constructed from May until September of 2016 at a cost of $1.5 million. "Closure of Phase 1 of Class 1 landfill" is expected in 2017 at a cost of $2.5 to $3.0 million, and "Construction of cell 9 of Class 4 landfill" is projected for the Summer of 2020 at a cost of $750,000 to $1 million.

Crawford said that submitted bids ended up being almost double the amount expected. Therefore bids were 'let out' again, separating the projects (new cell construction and leachate system). The latest bid for the cell construction still came in higher than expected, at around $2 million.

Crawford then detailed financial options that included both grants and loans. He gave his recommendation to the committee that the county go through the Arkansas Resource Commission, which gives "very low interest rates on loans." He also said that the County could qualify for grants to pay the approximately $1.4 million for the leachate system.

He said that application process would be fast and that he had been working with County Finance Director Brenda Burke to get all the necessary information he needed for the application. He said that he still needs just a couple more items and then the application would be ready to submit.

Crawford said that once that application is submitted, the Arkansas Resource Commission has agreed to add the Mississippi county Landfill to their next meeting for consideration, hopefully in mid-January.

All design fees with FTN could also be included in the loan amount, even though it occurred prior to the application. He also said that the Commission will want data that proves the county will receive enough revenue through the landfill to be able to cover the cost of the loan. Additionally, two Quorum Court resolutions will be required to accompany the application, which his office will provide. The first resolution will be an agreement of financing and the second will be an agreement of the terms of the loan.

Crawford also informed the committee that the county needs to plan for a small increase in tipping fees each year instead of trying to "catch up" after two or three years with one large increase. He said that the increases are needed to create a "stand alone fund" and in order to pay into a "trust fund" if the county decided to go that route instead of maintaining yearly "letters of credit" and certificates of deposit as required by ADEQ as assurances for the landfill. He also said that the increased tipping fees should be used to plan for upcoming future construction projects as well.

Crawford also reminded the committee about upcoming projects that landfill will be needing. He said that Phase 1 is the big landfill mound and will have to be "closed" when the new cell is constructed. The cost for that closure will be just as much as building the new cell, at approximately $2 to $3 million. He also said that upon closure, the landfill will be looking at construction of a new Class 4 cell, and then around 2020 there will be a need for another Class 1 construction.

"Construction is an on-going, repetitive cycle in the landfill," Crawford said.

Crawford also said that Dumey Construction Company is ready to get started on the new cell construction when the county is financially able. White said that he believed that County Judge Randy Carney could "pull the trigger" sometime right after the first of the year.

New Landfill supervisor Will Allen informed Crawford that the Landfill, with its expertise and equipment, was in a position to now build a road and do some of the work needed for the new cell construction to save money.

In other business, Allen asked the committee to give Landfill employee James Roundtree an $8,000 a year raise in salary. This raise will keep him at the increased salary he was paid during the absence of Cathey Byrd.

"I would give up two other employees just to keep Mr. Roundtree," Allen said, when asked how important he was to the landfill operations.

The committee decided to send the issue to the Personnel Committee for the purpose of changing the slot name before the Finance Committee would approve the permanent raise.

Chairman Michael White told the committee that there were only seven justices present in the November's Quorum Court meeting. Since the number of justices required to pass ordinances and resolutions is 2/3 of the majority, it technically requires 7.3 or more votes. Therefore, he stated that the Court needed at least eight justices present; so all ordinances from November will be placed on December's agenda to be voted upon.

Allen also gave the committee an extensive presentation detailing the condition of landfill equipment needs. Allen also disturbed booklets that included numerous pictures of the equipment and price estimates to have them replaced.

Allen said that the landfill needed to get the money approved to have its Cat 963 repaired and returned to them. He also announced that he purchase two other pieces of equipment. He estimated that it would cost approximately $350,000 to put the landfill in really good shape with the right equipment and working in optimum fashion.

Allen also suggested to the committee that they should consider paying off the equipment load at Farmers Bank and by using the funds that remained, start the process of getting ne equipment that would be needed. The Committee and County Judge agreed and Brenda Burke was told to pay off the loan.