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City proposes waste management commission
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MONROE - The City of Monroe has proposed an agreement for creating a county waste management commission and for utilizing the solid waste transfer station. The Board of Public Works wants to present it to the county's Solid Waste Management Board on March 14.

The Solid Waste Management Board has already accepted one-year agreements signed by 12 other municipalities to use the station. The city's current agreement ends April 2.

The city's proposed agreement is intended to begin Jan. 1, 2014, and would include other municipalities that enter into the agreement.

Directed by the city to draft the proposal, City Attorney Rex Ewald said the agreement gives an "all-in perspective" that will work for the city and every other town, village and city in the county. The agreement addresses representation on the commission, voting and setting fees. It would also require member municipalities to use the transfer station as its exclusive means of disposal.

Ewald also drew up a separate, proposed lease agreement between the commission and the county to rent the 38-acre property now used as the transfer station.

Members of the Board of Public Works reviewed the document and discussed the costs of using the county transfer station compared to hauling its trash to another facility, most likely in Janesville or Madison, including labor and transportation costs.

According to City Administrator Phil Rath, the city pays about $80,000 to $100,000 annually, in addition to tipping fees and maintenance costs associated with the old landfills.

The current agreement with added costs and no rights as members is "definitely not the way we want to go," Rath added.

Reid Stangel, BPW chairman, noted agreements with other transfer stations are an option but also have unknowns, such as non-renewals and fee fluctuations. To stay with the county transfer station may cost the city a little more, but it provides "an advantage to our businesses," he added.

Michael Boyce, board member, was reluctant to give up the transfer station for a private entity. The new commission might find ways to run the facility more efficiently, and the city would not be "walking away from our friends and neighbors," he said.

No board member knew of a specific price to put on convenience for having a local transfer station; however, Tom Miller, board member, said there was a "convenience and luxury of having our own place."

Randy Thompson, manager of the transfer station, said the economics of operating the transfer station required Monroe participation to remain open. Monroe contributes about half the trash and fees.

Nate Klassy, chairman of the Solid Waste Management Board, said the intergovernmental relationship for the landfill and transfer station has worked well for 32 years. He said he would like to see the city and county proceed slowly to work out problems "until everybody is happy."

To discuss the proposed agreement, members of the city's Board of Public Works will attend the county's Solid Waste Management Board meeting at 7 p.m. March 14 at the county transfer station, W2002 County SS, Brodhead. No final votes on the agreement are expected; other member municipalities are expected to be brought into the discussion in the future.