Not Necessarily News?

Last Thursday, I received the following inquiry from a reporter at the Idaho Statesman:

“This is from Boise:

“’The City is not a part of any agreement that exists between Ada County and Dynamis. Up to this point, Ada County has not approached the City about the Dynamis project. Idaho Code (31-4407A) lays out a specific process by which a County must engage municipal participation in funding and operating a solid waste facility. Our understanding of the Dynamis facility is it will operate off of waste streams under control of the County (unincorporated areas) given the fact that we have not received any notice of intent to have municipal participation in the project.’

“So, basically, Boise trash will not be delivered to the Dynamis facility?

“Who owns trash delivered to the landfill? Does 31-4407A apply to a new facility within an existing landfill?

“I am working on a story for Tuesday.”

I was told the quote from the city came from Public Works spokesman Vince Tromboli.

Here was my response:

The City of Boise is not reading the code the same way the county does. In fact, it doesn’t appear they are even being consistent with themselves.

In 2005, the City of Boise was invited to be heavily involved in the county’s decision to open the North Ravine Cell at the landfill site. I have provided to you a copy of the October 25, 2005 letter from Mayor Bieter to Commissioner Yzaguirre stating, “City staff members, the Public Works Commission, and the City Council have reviewed the feasibility study and the county’s request for the city’s participation in the new landfill site. Based upon that review process, it has been determined to be in the city’s best interests to participate in the North Ravine Landfill Cell.”

Although the city was involved in the discussion before the county expended over $20 million to open the North Ravine Cell, they have not been involved in a review of projects to remove solid waste from the waste stream that would otherwise be buried, such as our Household Hazardous Material Collection Facility or our wood recycling program. These are programs through which we keep unnecessary pollutants and/or volume of waste out of the landfill, just like the Dynamis project is intended to do.

In 2006, the contracts for construction of NRC 1 were issued. Costs included: Engineering: $5,085,300; Owner’s Rep: $120,000; Construction: $15,814,264. NRC 1 Total: $21,019,564.

NRC 2 contracts were issued in 2009, including: Engineering: $1,700,000; Construction: $8,090,525. NRC 2 Total: $9,790,525

Total for both phases of the North Ravine Cell: $30,810,089

In 2009 and early 2010, our (now-retired) Landfill Director Dave Neal came to the Board on several occasions requesting that we consider raising rates at the landfill. Although the Ada County landfill is a self-supporting enterprise fund that does not utilize property tax dollars, we were all opposed to raising rates, and suggested that Mr. Neal find a better way to make ends meet.

Mayor Bieter, in his October 2005 letter went on to say, “The city is also interested in providing for options and alternatives for solid waste disposal and increased waste reduction, diversion, and recycling programs. We consider such alternatives to be a critical component of a sustainable, environmentally and economically responsible approach to solid waste management in a fast-growing community.”

Once waste is delivered to the landfill, it is under the control of the county. We continually seek ways in which to serve all county residents who are ratepayers at the landfill (including those who live within the incorporated cities) more effectively, more efficiently, at the lowest possible cost. We are happy to know that the Mayor and City of Boise are thinking along the same lines as the county and, based on Mayor Bieter’s 2005 letter, we expect they will be fully supportive of the Dynamis project.

Thus far, I have seen no story in the Statesman.

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