City accountant compares costs
The accountant said he conservatively estimated costs.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- If the city owns and operates its own solid waste transfer station, its garbage disposal costs would far exceed its current cost of using the Warren Recycling Inc. transfer station, a city accountant concluded.
It appears that, "for the time being, Warren Recycling is the best option the city has," said Robert Stahl, city accounting coordinator.
If WRI were to lose its license and close, the city would have to select a less financially attractive garbage disposal option, he said.
As recommended by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the city health department has proposed to deny WRI's 2006 transfer station operating license and review the matter at midyear, but the facility continues to operate pending a final decision.
The EPA requested that action pending a background investigation of the station operators.
Stahl appeared Tuesday before city council's health and welfare committee, whose chairman, James "Doc" Pugh, D-6th, had requested information concerning the feasibility and cost of establishing a city-owned-and-operated transfer station.
The city pays WRI $45.42 per ton to dispose of its 26,000 tons of garbage each year, for a total of $1,180,920, Stahl told the committee.
The WRI transfer station is the place where garbage collected in city-owned trucks is loaded onto larger trucks to be taken to Browning-Ferris Industries Poland landfill.
In his study of the feasibility of a city-operated transfer station that the city would either own or lease, Stahl said his cost estimates were "very conservative."
If the city were to operate a transfer station, Stahl projected costs per ton at $8 to truck the garbage to a landfill, $19 to dump it in the landfill, fees of $3.50 each to the Ohio EPA and the Geauga-Trumbull Solid Waste Management District, and $11.71 in labor costs. Those figures add up to $45.71 per ton, exceeding the current cost by 29 cents a ton.
The $45.71 per ton cost doesn't include any transfer station construction, equipment acquisition, leasing, operating or maintenance costs, Stahl noted.
Stahl conservatively estimated station construction and equipment costs at a combined $1,060,000, not including land acquisition, and he projected annual utility costs at $17,000.
He cited a transfer station at Siloam Springs, Ark., however, that cost $1.2 million to build, not including any equipment, and has half the daily capacity that Warren needs. Warren requires a 200-ton capacity for peak garbage collection days, he said.
"I will never vote to open another city-owned business," said Councilman Gary Fonce, D-at large. "I think these numbers are very conservative, especially on the employee side of it.
"You're guaranteed almost a 3 percent pay raise every year. Health care goes up every year. The cost of utilities and gas goes up," Fonce observed.
The prospect of increased costs imposed by the Ohio EPA is another unknown, said William "Doug" Franklin, city safety-service director.