On Tuesday, the Inyo County Board of Supervisors was informed by its staff that a new lease with LADWP for its landfill property is about to become a lot more expensive.
According to Rick Benson, Assistant County Administrator, the rent will increase from its current $4,910/month to $22,637/month by 2019.
The rent will remain fixed at $4,910 for the next two years.
Benson said the rent increase will effectively increase the cost of refuse disposal by $19 a ton, or nearly 40%.
As Benson stated in his staff report, “Last March, your Board received a report in regard to the challenges in updating the County’s landfill permits from CalRecycle. As you may recall, the County has been in violation of the current permits. The primary area of non-compliance is that the County has been exceeding its daily tonnage limits.”
For the past year, Inyo County has been working out a new agreement with CalRecycle, which won’t finalize anything until Inyo County has a new lease from LADWP (the previous lease expired in 2009).
Elements of the three-year lease renewal (L.A. would only agree to a three-year maximum length. Inyo asked for 24 years) include:
•180-day termination notice
•Mandated educational program re: Illegal dumping
•Out-of-county waste prohibited (thwarting any possible collaboration with Mono County)
Overall, said Benson, there were 53 changes to the lease.
While Inyo County Administrative Officer (CAO) Kevin Carunchio believes all leases between governmental entities should be $1 a year—seeing as LADWP and its employees use and benefit from the landfill, the County has no leverage. Supervisors were displeased by the proposed lease, but also see no alternative but to sign it.
CalRecycle fines for non-compliance can cost $10,000 per day.
As Supervisor Jeff Griffiths said, “Cutting hours once you reach the tonnage limit doesn’t make trash magically disappear.” Never mind that standing trash constitutes a public health hazard, chimed in Supervisor Rick Pucci.
Supervisor Dan Totheroh suggested if the lease doesn’t get done, that excess tonnage should be dumped into the L.A. Aqueduct. He said so facetiously (we think).
James Yannotta, Manager of the Los Angeles Aqueduct for LADWP submitted this statement in regard to the landfill lease:
“The new lease rate for Inyo County’s Bishop Sunland Landfill has been established to reflect appropriate costs for leasing and activity on this type of facility in 2017. From 1990 to today the lease rate has been essentially unchanged. In 26 years the lease rate only went up one time ($140 per year).