Counties Okay Mar-Oco Budget, Clean Sweep PlansIssue Date: September 20, 2018
Following a public hearing at 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 14 at the landfill scale house, the joint Marinette and Oconto County Mar-Oco Landfill committee approved the proposed budget for 2019 for the landfill west of Crivitz, and moved it along for presentation to the respective county boards.
Marinette County Board approved the budget without dissent at its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 18, and a similar action was expected from Oconto County Board on Thursday, Sept. 20.
No one from the public was present at the public hearing to speak for or against the budget. Committee members are Supervisors Clancy Whiting, Al Sauld and Robert Holley from Marinette County and Supervisors Darrel Pagel, Robert Pott and Al Schreiber from Oconto County.
As agreed at the August committee meeting, the budget calls for no increase in the tipping fee for ordinary refuse for 2019, although cost of tire disposal will go up due to a hike in contractor costs for that service.
One of the Oconto County supervisors asked why they aren't raising the tipping fees. He had been told Waste Management charges $90 per ton for disposal at their landfill just outside of Menominee, Mich.
Landfill Administrator Paul Klose said it has been usual to raise the tipping fee at Mar-Oco every other year and they raised it last year. He said the charge at the Brown County last year was $47 per ton, $10 less than Mar-Oco, and some of the Oconto County customers, including the City of Oconto, had begun going here. He felt if Mar-Oco fees go up too much they will lose more customers.
The Menominee site reportedly negotiates separate disposal fees with municipalities and large haulers. The City of Peshtigo, for example, had switched from disposal at the Menominee site to disposal at Mar-Oco, possibly because of the lower Mar-Oco tipping fee.
Tipping fee for tires was raised by $100 per ton for loads weighing more than 50 pounds, bringing that price to $300 per ton. Disposal of individual tires is $2, $4 or $7 each, depending on size. Special fees for items such as contaminated soil are approved on a separate basis.
Klose said the budget was barely changed from the version the committee had approved at its August meeting, except for a slight change in the landfill's share of Social Security, state retirement and workmen's comp. Final health and dental insurance figures aren't in yet.
Klose said with tipping fees as they are the landfill is making enough money to cover administration and operations, but by the time the landfill closes in about a decade there is likely to be little or nothing left of the $1.2 million each county originally invested. The share for each is currently down to about $900,000, and they will need to build at least one more cell and buy one more loader. There is money set aside for perpetual care, and in the meantime he felt citizens of both counties have enjoyed low cost garage disposal because the landfill exists.
Holley noted the long term care money is invested, and interest is finally up to almost three percent, which they can use and reinvest.
Klose said the auditors would tell them if the operation was in trouble. He commented they are providing a public service, and perhaps helping keep costs at nearby landfills down as well, due to competition. However, there is no provision for any landfill for either county once Mar-Oco is filled to capacity. It has already lasted far longer than anyone expected at the start.
Both counties separately approved holding a Clean Sweep program to collect small quantity household and agricultural hazardous wastes in spring of 2019 and a DNR grant is being sought to help pay for it. The last local clean sweep was in 2011.
Marinette County Board authorized the application on Sept. 18, and Oconto county Board is expected to do the same at its monthly meeting on Thursday.
Recent stories, opinions and photos