Garrett County Planning for Future Landfill Needs

The Garrett County Government has outlined comprehensive plans for future waste management and landfill capacity, addressing current challenges and projecting future needs. 

As part of these plans, the county is evaluating options to ensure sustainable and cost-effective waste disposal methods.

The current landfill capacity stands at 1,228,879 permitted tons, with 875,138 tons already in use, leaving less than eight years of remaining capacity. This pressing timeline has necessitated a detailed analysis of cost centers where the expenses and revenues of the six collection sites and the landfill have been meticulously tracked.

In comparing current landfill expansion costs within Garrett County to those of neighboring regions, it is evident that Garrett County offers more competitive rates and more convenient locations for waste disposal. Allegany County, for example, charges a residential $2.00 per bag rate with only two disposal site options. A comparable pricing structure would cost the average Garrett County resident family well over $200/year.

Over the Fiscal Year 2023 period, site expenses have varied across locations between $68,529.09 and $118,817.17, while revenues have ranged from $43,928.49 to $109,038.13. Unfortunately, these collection sites are operated at an overall loss. Combining sticker and additional revenues, the total waste management program loss is $32,589.

Looking to the future, Garrett County faces two primary options for waste management after the current landfill reaches capacity. The first option involves constructing new landfill cells at the current site. And the second option is to build a transfer station and haul the trash to neighboring West Virginia.

Upon an assessment, the Garrett County Government finance team recommends proceeding with the construction of new landfill cells. Additionally, to support the financial viability of waste management programs, it is proposed to raise the scale rate for all materials to the landfill from $50 to $62.50 per ton and to increase permit fees from $75 to $85 per year. These adjustments aim to just cover existing expenses and prepare for the future cells.

“Waste management in Garrett County is at a critical juncture. With less than eight years of landfill capacity remaining, our focus is on planning,” said Pat Kight, Director, Garrett County Solid Waste and Recycling Division. “It will be an expensive and long process to close the existing landfill and open new cells but we feel this plan ensures a responsible waste management plan while minimizing financial impacts on our residents.”

The financial projections for these initiatives are promising. For collection sites, total permit revenue is expected to reach $590,750 against site expenses of $578,524, resulting in a modest profit of $12,226. For landfill scales, projected revenues of $1,850,000 will slightly undercut expenses of $1,853,449, leading to a minor loss of $3,449.

The Garrett County Government encourages residents to review these figures and provide feedback. Comments can be submitted via email to [email protected].

Created 6/5/2024 1:27pm
Last Updated 6/5/2024 1:30pm