A letter from Reno County sparked a bit of conversation at the Harvey County Commission Monday — namely what adjustments need to be made at the Harvey County Transfer Station in response to a rate increase at the Reno County landfill.
"It does not surprise me,” said Commissioner Chip Westfall of the rate increase.
It is the first rate increase in a couple of years, although residential rates at the landfill have increased the past two years.
Harvey County will pay about $1.25 more per ton of refuse trucked from the transfer station to the landfill.
The fee for contracted counties is increasing from $31.75 per ton to $33 per ton.
In the past, when Reno County has increased the fee, Harvey County has increased fees for use of the transfer station. That affects nearly every municipality in the county.
“We ought to, through the council of governments, give them a heads up so they can work with it during their budgets,” Westfall said.
This past year, 22,439.38 tons of waste was sent to the Reno County landfill by Harvey County. For the first quarter of this year, Harvey County sent 4,572.36 tons.
The Reno County Commission approved the fee structure April 16, including rate increases for residential users in addition to the increase for governmental users, such as Harvey County.
The rate hike in the Solid Waste User Fee charged to all Reno County property owners was the second in as many years.
The additional funding is necessary, according to the landfill staff and an outside consultant advised the commission, to start an expansion project in 2021 that will extend the landfill’s life out some 50 years.
It will also allow the county to maintain current operations at levels that meet state and federal landfill regulations.
Besides the 4.3 percent rate increase for Reno County users, the commission approved a $1.25 hike — from $31.75 to $33 per ton — for out-of-county landfill users and an increase from $39 to $40 per ton for contaminated soil and special waste.
The expansion project includes moving all of the existing landfill structures, such as the scale house and offices, to the opposite side of the street, out of the existing landfill footprint, then converting that space into a landfill disposal cell.
Preliminary estimates of those costs are about $800,000 to prepare Cell D and $3 million for the facilities.
By implementing a vertical expansion going up 100 to 120 feet over the existing landfill, it will allow the county to extend the life of the landfill into the 2070s. Otherwise, the county would need to find additional land to expand onto starting in the next eight to 10 years, consultant Monte Markley with SCS Engineers advised the commission.
Elements of the new landfill office will include improving traffic flow, installing scales for vehicles both entering and exiting, and consolidating structures now spread out across the property into one place.
The Hutchinson News contributed to this report.