Solid Waste Authority re-elects existing officers
The Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority held its annual election of officers last week at its regular monthly meeting at the Pocahontas County Courthouse. At the conclusion, there were no changes in personnel.
Ed Riley was re-elected to the position of chairman. Jim Burks was re-elected vice chairman. Mary Clendenen was re-elected to the position of secretary/treasurer, all by unanimous votes.
Burks took a moment to acknowledge the dedication and loyalty of the SWA staff, and thanked landfill manager Jody Alderman on behalf of the board.
"I would like to take the opportunity to thank the administrative staff and the staff at the landfill," Burks said. "As a board, we're very fortunate to have the quality of the people we've got. We don't have a lot of hassles, sitting as board members here. None of us get a whole lot of phone calls over what goes on at the Solid Waste Authority. I truly appreciate that and I'm sure the other board members do too. That having been said, and I think it needed to be said, we're very glad to have you all. You work very well as a team, you make us look good."
Board members briefly addressed SWA finances.
"This is our statement for halfway of the fiscal year. You can see on the expenses, we're running pretty close to where we should be," Clendenen told board members.
Clendenen also updated the board on a recent performance review.
"The Solid Waste Management Board came for their visit on January 11 as part of their performance review," she said. "They came and did a tour of the green boxes in Marlinton and went up to the landfill and did a tour up there with Jody and went over things at the office at the landfill. It's my understanding that they're in the final phases of their performance review, so they should be finishing up their report and getting it to you all pretty soon."
Board members discussed recent correspondence with the West Virginia Public Service Commission.
The PSC indicated the SWA may be required to take out a loan to fund its upcoming project to construct a new cell.
According to Alderman, cells are basically a prepared hole composed of layers of compacted clay and synthetic woven geo textiles. The last cell the SWA built was on a 1.1 acre tract of land and took about four weeks to build. The new cell is planned for construction next spring.
"They [PSC] suggested that we may have to get a loan from the Solid Waste Management Board to pay for our cell construction this time," said Riley. "They may not let us do it out of our own funds. They're thinking about putting in an order so that we have to get a loan for it."
"We estimated it would be about $100,000 out of our funds that we would have to pay," Clendenen said. "The total cell construction would be about $400,000. We should have about $300,000 in escrow to pay for part of it, but we'll still have $100,000 we'll have to come up with. They're saying that's what we'd have to get the loan for."
Clendenen said the PSC recommendation is intended to ensure the SWA doesn't generate a profit.
"When we sent in our request to the PSC to ask them if we can raise our tipping fee, we told them that somewhere down the road, if we continue on the path we're on, that our funds would run down to nothing," said Clendenen. "So they're saying in order to keep that from happening to us, and to keep some money in the bank if we have to have it for an emergency, the only thing we can do is get a loan. Because they're not going to let us raise the tipping fee to a point that we'll make a profit. We have to stay at break even."
Riley reminded the board that this was only a suggestion from the PSC, not an order.
"I'm not sure this will happen, but that's how they want to do it. We'll just have to wait and see what they do recommend," said Riley.
Board members discussed a finalized grant application for a recent addition to its fleet of vehicles.
According to Clendenen, SWA obtained a grant for a Ford truck. The grant is finished and the final report has been turned in to the SWMB. She said the SWA received a letter back from the SWMB on January 4 and that everything has been approved and closed out.
"Are you satisfied with the truck?" Burks asked Alderman. "Since we didn't have any snow I bet it's doin' fine."
Alderman indicated he was very pleased with the new truck's performance.
The board discussed a November groundwater monitoring report through Reliance Labs they have yet to receive. Riley said the SWA had water samples taken in November.
"We still haven't heard anything from them," said Riley.
Riley said Clenenden sent an e-mail on the board's behalf to the company, asking if it would have the groundwater and flow rate direction report ready for the upcoming SWA meeting. Riley said Clendenen received an e-mail reply indicating the lab reports would be e-mailed the following morning. Riley said the board never received the reports and they are still waiting for the results. Riley said he is anxious to see the results.
The board approved the Annual Operational Report by a vote of 5-0.
Board member Kenneth "Buster" Varner asked other board members for input on the idea of acquiring a business credit card in hopes of saving money and to take advantage of special incentives. The board agreed the idea was plausible and the item was tabled for further discussion.