County proposes solid waste fee increase

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

The public will have a chance to weigh in on a possible Bonner County Solid Waste fee increase at a hearing Wednesday, Sept. 4, as the county considers boosting funding for updated waste collection facilities.

A metal pile at the Colburn Transfer Station. Courtesy photo.

“The county has not made a major investment in our solid waste transfer system for over 25 years,” the Bonner County commissioners’ office said in a statement July 15. “In an effort to get back on track with an eye toward environmental protection, the Bonner County commissioners are entertaining a fee increase for the purpose of financing these improvements.”

Based on projections, the annual solid waste fee per household could increase about 62% from $115 to $185, raising the cost per month for Solid Waste services from the current $9.58 to approximately $15.41. 

Howard said his department relies entirely on fees, and that property taxes do not help fund Solid Waste operations.

The proposed upgrades are the result of a 10-year improvement plan from Great West, a company the county hired earlier this year to take stock of where and how waste sites could be improved.

One major project on the table is a complete upgrade of the Colburn Transfer Station. 

“It’s the nucleus of all solid waste operations,” said Solid Waste Director Bob Howard. “Waste from all of the sites go to that location to be sorted.”

Last year, all 42,000 tons of trash from the county’s various collection sites passed through the Colburn station, yet Great West described the facility as an “antiquated and undersized waste transfer building.”

“In addition to several cosmetic issues, the building is undersized,” the Great West report reads. “Oftentimes waste is piled up on a concrete pad in a fenced-in area in front … of the building until the waste can be pushed into the building and top-loaded into trailers.”

Howard said the project — which would include constructing a new waste transfer building, new hazardous waste building, adding a truck scale and more — is estimated to cost $8 million.

The hearing Sept. 4 is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the county administration building.

Review the Bonner County Solid Waste 10-Year Capital Improvements Plan at Direct questions to Solid Waste at 208-255-5681 extension 2.

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