Freedom of info key at landfill meeting
Two items regarding freedom of information discussed at Wednesday’s UPRSWDD meeting
December 12, 2018
Freedom of information became the central focus at the Upper Platte River Solid Waste Disposal District (UPRSWDD) meeting which began at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Saratoga Town Hall.
Though the meeting began with the routine business of approving bills for both Oct. 3 and Nov. 7 and amending the previous minutes slightly, the board soon moved to old business.
The board members; which included Hank Jewell, Sue Jones, Leroy Stephenson and chairman Randy Raymer, with Schelby Merrill not present, then heard from Landfill operator Ron Munson.
Site Report and
Munson gave the site report for the Encampment and Saratoga landfills. According to that report Encampment had 206 gallons of oil, 206 tires, two-and-a-half loads of iron on the ground, and a full basket of e-waste along with a load of recycling and Saratoga had 216 tires, 248 gallons of oil, three baskets of e-waste and full trailer of recyclables.
Munson also noted the iron piles had been cleaned up and that the burn pile will be burned before the first of the year.
Raymer told the board he had received reports there had been problems with the cardboard compactor freezing up. Chairman Raymer said he remembered asking for a heater on the unit and Munson agreed that had been discussed, but that when he called the manufacturer it was discovered the model at the landfill was not a unit that could even be equipped with one.
New Storage Building
Board member Stephenson then asked if there was a certificate of substantial completion available for board signature on the new storage building. Craig Kopasz, of Engineering Associates, said there was and the board approved signing that certificate.
Kopasz said he needed to get with electrical engineer Bill Walters to get the wiring plan designed and that the fire marshal needed to approve electrical wiring plans for the new shop and that could take some time getting the marshal.
The board then discussed the removal of the old storage building but decided to postpone that action until the new building was wired and ready.
Information Research Charges
Discussion then moved to freedom of information issues with the board adopting resolution 2108-2 which allows the board to charge for reasonable costs of research and compilation of data for requested searches. This was deemed necessary because a request for information had been made by the Dupilseas which had started a back and forth between their attorney, Paul Hickey, and the board over the legality of charging for that research.
The board then discussed the Department of Audit/Budget report. Raymer said that because the board’s budget had gone over $500 thousand, and there were grant issues involved, that a different filing would have to be made with that department and that once that was done the budget would be published on the county’s website.
After that discussion, those measures were adopted.
Engineer Craig Kopasz then gave a Statistical Analysis report. He said he had received a professional services contract from Inberg-Miller to perform the required statistical analysis and added that Inberg-Miller had been doing this measurement for Sinclair and that they had achieved a streamlined process.
After those comments, audience member Doug Dupilsea asked exactly what that report entailed. Kopasz explained that statistical analysis, in this situation, detailed groundwater quality measurements from wells surrounding the landfill and that if there were any statistical anomalies (ie: an increase in lead or other chemicals showing landfill leakage) that possible remediation could be taken.
Raymer noted the Department of Environment Quality used to take responsibility for this testing but that it had since fallen to individual landfills to obtain these groundwater reports.
The board then called for a motion and accepted the service estimate from Inberg-Miller.
Resolution 2018-01 concerning mid-season transfer was passed by the board and a modification to an administrative order regarding extending the receipt of waste was also made.
The last order of business on the night was a letter from the Dupilseas concerning requested budget information.
Added to the request, which was mainly concerned with the district’s budget and monetary carry over items, the letter asked why, given the size of the district’s budget, plastic and glass were no longer being recycled.
It was agreed by the board that the new copy of the Department of Audit should answer the budgetary questions and that a copy of that would be provided.
Doug Dupilsea then asked that he be given soil study reports which had been at the root of the decision to move the new transfer station away from its originally intended site. Dupilsea said he had asked for these previously. These records had also been requested by their attorney.
Chairman Raymer at this time stated, “Mr. Hickey has turned the debate about providing the information into a debate about if there would be a fee and how much that fee would be before any investigative action was taken on our part. The last correspondence from him threatens us with District Court … for failure to turn over the information. But we took it upon ourselves to assemble this information at our expense and we are prepared to turn this over with an invoice for time that Craig (Kopasz) has invested in this.”
Chairman Raymer said that it was never the intent of the board to deny access to public records and that the board had prepared the requested information on a thumb drive which would be sent the next day to attorney Hickey along with a letter explaining their position and a copy of the invoice for that research.
Raymer also said that the debate on billing was the reason the board had passed Resolution 2018-2 earlier that evening.
To cap off the meeting Leroy Stephenson apologized for not being available to open the regular Encampment meeting place saying that he was at a doctor’s appointment in Cheyenne and that while he had talked to Raymer about attending the meeting by phone, it had slipped his mind that he needed to leave a key to the library. He apologized to everyone who had tried to attend and said he felt bad about the error.
Having no further business, the meeting adjourned.
The next meeting of the UPRSDD will be 7 p.m. Wednesday Jan. 2 at the Encampment Library.