Following a three-month public process, the SWACO Board of Trustees approved a proposal to reduce the landfill tipping fee rate by $3 per ton. The rate, which is charged per ton to all waste entering the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill, will be lowered from $42.75 to $39.75 beginning April 1, 2017. The new rate will provide savings for communities, residents and businesses; keep tipping fees stable for several years; and allow SWACO to respond to community requests for additional diversion programming.
Approximately, ninety-five percent of SWACO’s revenues are derived from the tipping fee.
Under the current rate structure, $7 of the tipping fee is restricted to pay down debt associated with the former Waste-to-Energy Facility, which operated from 1983 to 1994. That debt will be retired by the end of March, which prompted SWACO to seek community input on a new tipping fee rate. Over the past year, SWACO has gone through a public process that has included public hearings and meetings with community officials. In October, SWACO advanced a proposal to all Franklin County communities to replace the $7 for the Waste-to-Energy Facility debt with a smaller $4 fee.
Of the $4 per ton replacement fee, $3 per ton will be directed to increased general operations expenses, paying for the landfill’s capital needs (such as construction), maintaining an appropriate level of fund balance reserves to maintain SWACO’s triple A bond rating and planning for unforeseen emergencies that might threaten the public’s health and safety. The remaining $1 will support the annual maintenance costs of the closed Model Landfill (between $400,000 to $500,000 a year) and expanded and new services to increase waste diversion (Details are outlined in SWACO’s 2016 Memo to the Solid Waste Rate Advisory Board
The proposal received voted support from the Solid Waste Rate Advisory Board – to which representatives from all 41 communities in the Solid Waste District were appointed.
“The new tipping fee structure will position SWACO to fulfill its mission for safe waste disposal, and diversion while strengthening our fiscal outlook and returning resources to our communities,” said Executive Director Ty Marsh. “Like many businesses and governments, SWACO has seen an increase in operating expenses. Items such as equipment, landfill construction and recycling all cost more today, as a result of inflation. The new fee structure allows us to sustain these increases while helping to build a more sustainable community.”
Recent studies document that nearly 70% of the waste stream could be recycled with an estimated market value of $41 million annually. In the coming years SWACO will offer new service opportunities to leverage the waste stream for economic and environmental benefit. SWACO expects to expand diversion infrastructure, integrate the management of materials, and participate in recycling market development and entrepreneurship opportunities that strengthen the vitality of the entire region.
SWACO’s tipping fee rate was last adjusted in 2012.