Elkins to consider surcharge

City of Elkins officials are considering charging a monthly fee to help pay off the closed Elkins-Randolph County Landfill’s nearly $240,000 in outstanding debts.

During Monday’s meeting of Elkins City Council’s Sanitation and Landfill Committee, Chairman Carman Metheny said, “We’re trying to figure out how we’re going to fund the landfill for the next 20 to 30 years.

“We’re looking at some kind of surcharge, or soame way to generate funds for the landfill,” Metheny said. “We’re hoping to implement this in the next few months. We’re still in the planning stages.”

Metheny provided the committee members with a fact sheet stating that the landfill’s outstanding debt amounted to $238,511.17. The landfill has been closed since September 2011.

The debt includes $45,574.50 owed to the Weston Sanitary Board, and $34,928 owed to Ogden Enterprise. The landfill also owes $110,008.67 to the Elkins Sewage Department – for handling the landfill’s leachate – and $48,000 to the city’s General Fund.

Metheny suggested charging a monthly fee between $2 and $3 to the city’s sanitation customers. His fact sheet stated that a fee of $3.41 per month would pay off the debt in two years.

Elkins Operations Manager Bob Pingley disagreed with some of the fact sheet’s figures, including its estimate that operating costs at the closed landfill will run about $360,000 per year. Pingley said he believed the operating costs will be $250,000 per year “at most.”

Pingley said committee members needed to meet with the state Public Service Commission before taking any recommendations before council.

“There’s no point in us doing anything until we know what they want from us,” Pingley said, adding that they should ask the PSC if the city has the freedom to either lower or raise the fee after setting it.

Metheny agreed, and Pingley said he would set up a meeting with the PSC as soon as possible, probably in Charleston.

Also during Monday’s meeting:

Assistant Operations Manager Peggy Blosser told the committee she could prepare an application for a state Department of Environmental Protection Covered Electronic Devices (CED) Recycling Grant for the city, and that the application could ask for up to $20,000 without the city having to provide matching funds.

Blosser said she would also be preparing a similar grant application for the Randolph County Solid Waste Authority, and she suggested that, if both grants are awarded, the city and the SWA pool the money.

The committee members agreed with the plan and said they would discuss it with the SWA.