By Lyndsie Kiebert
Bonner County Solid Waste is looking to improve over the next decade and recently entered a contract with a company that will provide the county with a feasible plan moving forward.
The analysis will come from Great West, a company Solid Waste Director Bob Howard said is familiar with working on waste management practices. The resulting 10-year plan is slated to include solid waste projections, cost of service analysis and recommendations as well as improvement recommendations, Howard said. Great West’s services will cost about $49,000 — something Howard said was planned into the county’s FY19 budget.
“This is something during budget (meetings) that we discussed quite vigorously,” said Commissioner Jeff Connolly at the BOCC’s Tuesday business meeting, where Howard received unanimous commissioner approval to enter the contract with Great West. “This is going to give us a pathway forward for Solid Waste, hopefully for the next 10 years. It’s an investment that we probably should have made quite a while ago.”
Commissioner Dan McDonald said such plans were meant to happen every 10 years, but that the most recent Solid Waste improvement plan was drafted 20 years ago.
Bonner County closed the 11 Mile waste site, located north of Priest River, on Jan. 1, citing “safety issues” and the site’s location on U.S. Forest Service land — and therefore lack of commercial power — as reasons for the closure. Though Howard said in December that the closure would be temporary, he said Tuesday that Great West will determine the next steps for the 11 Mile site in their analysis.
McDonald said the Idaho Hill site is “fairly primitive,” noting it as an example of a place Great West might consider providing suggestions. He also said the county’s growing population could constitute site improvements.
“We have a lot of changes being made in the county … and we want to make sure we are capturing that, especially when it comes to solid waste,” McDonald said.
Howard said Great West’s analysis is scheduled to be complete by May 1.
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