By Mike Dunn 

Landfill board unable to hit moving target

 


The Upper Platte Valley Solid Waste District (landfill board) chairman Randy Raymer said he had some choice words for the State Lands and Investment Board (SLIB) after they were denied a grant to construct a transfer station for their waste.

At the May 7 landfill board meeting, a frustrated Raymer said they were unable to receive the $375,000 grant due to non-compliance with Wyoming Statute 35-11-532.

There is currently 21 million dollars set aside in the SLIB account for towns to construct transfer stations. Of the 10 counties and municipalities that applied for SLIB grant funding, only one was approved at the May 6 special meeting in Cheyenne.

“We heard we were ineligible for transfer funding,” said Craig Kopasz, of PMPC and engineer for the transfer station project with PMPC. “The reason why we are ineligible is because of statute 35-11-532 which deals with accounting principles … [the SLIB board] definition of accounting principles is GAAP [generally accepted accounting principles] based accounting … they never told us this from the get go. We called them several times.”


Raymer added because of non-compliance with the GAAP based accounting, five of the 10 counties and municipalities were ineligible to receive their grants.

“Only one of the applicants was awarded short of their request because of the new formula that the legislature set,” Raymer said.

Raymer said the second reason they were denied funds was they lacked funding for all of the process.

“This includes the closure costs, which in our case includes 2.3 million dollars. This is roughly $600,000 they want us to have in the bank before they will give us the $350,000 that we applied for the grant,” Raymer said.

Raymer said he spoke in front of the legislatures at the SLIB meetings and expressed his discontentment over the handling of these funds.

“They set aside 21 million dollars in this account. Yesterday, they only committed 1.2 million dollars. Why did (SLIB) set up a meeting to talk about nothing but landfill, and they funded one stinking project … basically what I said when I got my chance was ‘how embarrassing’,” Raymer said. “What a waste of time. I said we have spent years getting this money, and I am not one inch closer than I was five years earlier. I said, quite honestly, we could be another decade getting this thing done, and I think that is a shame.”

Other members of the landfill expressed their frustration after not receiving the grant,

“Ever since I have been on this joint powers board, it has always been DEQ that has moved the target,” board member Leroy Stephenson said. “But now, it’s the legislature that is moving the target.”

On a positive note, the landfill board has decided to not increase their landfill rates for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

After reviewing their budget for the next year, board members said it would not be wise to raise rates, despite the potential revenue it can bring towards the transfer station.

“I don’t think we should raise rates at this point, even though it would be a positive gesture towards the SLIB,” Raymer said. “[The SLIB grant] has really put us in this wait and see attitude.”

Raymer said even if they decided to raise rates, they would not be able to complete the project without help from the SLIB grant.

The next landfill board meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on June 2 at Saratoga Town Hall.

 

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