The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

July 12, 2013

Graf pushes to lower city's landfill costs

By Katie Dahlstrom
Assistant Editor

CLINTON — The Clinton representative on the Clinton County Area Solid Waste Agency board made it clear to representatives from other cities that she is not giving up her campaign to lower landfill rates for the city of Clinton.

At-large Councilwoman Jennifer Graf came to the Thursday night CCASWA meeting with a suggestion to reduce the amount that Clinton pays to use the landfill once the city delivered a certain amount of tons.   

She made a motion last month to lower the $10 per person rate or the $44 a ton rate charged to the city, but didn't receive support from fellow CCSAWA board members.

According a a report provided by Director of Education and Operations Brad Seward, Clinton brought 5,483.84 tons to the landfill last year in garbage and other collections. Given the per ton and per resident rates, Clinton contributes more than $500,000 to the agency.  

Clinton's tons account for more than all the other municipalities in the County combined.

Andover, DeWitt, Charlotte, Delmar, Toronto and Welton brought roughly 3,099. Wheatland and Grand Mound delivered 668.57; Camanche and Goose Lake, 408.65; Lost Nation and the northwest part of the county, 444.84; and Low Moor 222.99.  

The rest of the agency's 31 tons a year come from cash, business and industry customers.  

"That's over a half million dollars. And I've spoken on and on and on and on at the last meeting that we need some relief. Asking for any relief either in the per tonage rate or the per-capita allocation. I don't seem to be able to get a second from anybody," Graf said.  

Instead, she proposed a graduated tonnage rate that would apply once the municipality hits 5,000 tons. However, she didn't motion to implement the graduated rate because she didn't believe a second would be likely to follow.

Graf also pointed out that Clinton accounts for 60 percent of the tons brought to the agency from municipalities and in turn accounts for 60 percent of the revenue generated by the same group. She asked fellow board members to consider how their rates would be affected if the city of Clinton didn't use the landfill.  

"We're going forward with a study with Springsted on outsourcing our solid waste pickup, which I think all of you realize that if it does get outsourced and that entity would choose not to go with the county landfill, that would have a huge impact on the weighting and the tonnage that you receive," Graf said.  

Seward asserted that city officials have the ability to dictate in the contract with a private hauler that the hauler must use the CCASWA.

"They do, but they may not considering there isn't any kind of give and take in the situation we're in today," Graf said.  

Graf said she would like the discussion of reducing rates on the agenda for next month.  

During a budget discussion later in the meeting, Graf asked if the board could return to the rates item after Seward told the board the agency is projected to have a $65,000 surplus this fiscal year.  

Seward said it could be revisited at the August meeting.