What was meant to be a simple solid waste workshop presenting an overview of the existing system to bring all of the new Mono County Supervisors up to speed on the issue turned into an inquisition.
County Solid Waste Superintendent Tony Dublino presented the workshop as the first in a series of two and hoped to give an overview of the existing system, discuss conceptual alternatives, and receive some direction on these concepts from the Board.
The County is facing a solid waste dilemma with the Benton Crossing Landfill set to close in 2023. Since the cat slipped out of the back last December that the Town of Mammoth hoped to break ground on its Materials Recycling Facility, or MRF, the County has been even more concerned. If the Town builds its MRF it will not be sending waste to the landfill, which means low tonnage numbers that the County has been struggling with since the downturn of the economy and construction would only worsen.
Pat Fenton of Waste Connections, who is expected to build the Town’s MRF spoke up toward the end of the workshop.
“The MRF would be built by local contractors and will be a regional MRF for everyone,” Fenton said. “The Town asked me to do this so we’re doing it. If the County had asked, I’d do it for you too.”
That’s when Supervisor Larry Johnston began to prod. He referred to the report that the Town hoped to begin construction of the MRF this spring and asked Fenton if that were true.
“The Town was hoping it could be built this spring but I’m not sure if it’s possible,” Fenton said. “The MRF has to be approved by the Town Council.”
Johnston asked if there was a plan laid out for the facility, something the County has been asking the Town for for some time.
“I have provided plans for everything,” Fenton said. “You’ll have to ask the Town to see them. You should ask them at the Town/County liaison meeting, that’s the appropriate place.”
I’m not a politician, I’m a trash guy,” Fenton added.
Supervisor Fred Stump stepped in to point out, “We’re in a bind and we have to struggle with this, but you’re not the enemy,” he said to Fenton.
The the Town/County liaison meeting held at the end of 2012 the County did request to see the plans for the MRF. Then Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht promised that the Town would roll out the plans in January. Wilbrecht has since left the Town and it seems the issue is still at large.
The Supervisors will provide feedback on Dublino’s presentation next week.