Landfill operations looking up

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The landfill is running about $200,000 under its estimated budget, and Deputy Health Director Ken Arnold said better management with closer attention to detail will help extend the life of the landfill.

"We have a vested interest in this," said Ken Arnold, deputy health director. "It's our landfill. We need to make it last longer for the residents of Carson City."

Carson City supervisors in March 2001 allowed the city's Environmental Health and Street departments to take over operation of the landfill for a year on the premise the two departments could do it cheaper than other companies that bid to operate the landfill.

Two other bidders -- the lowest of the two bid just under $2 million for the landfill contract -- argued there was more to operating a landfill than city officials could handle. Mayor Ray Masayko told streets and environmental health officials they would have to be competitive to keep operating the landfill.

City officials estimated they could operate the landfill between $1.3 million and $1.5 million. Carson Environmental Health Director Daren Winkelman said operation costs are more around $1.2 million, and the landfill budget shows the city may actually pull in around $140,000 profit from the landfill.

"We had something to prove. We had to prove we could do this," Winkelman said.

Before the change in management, the life of the landfill was estimated to last about eight years. An attempt to find a way to prolong the life of the landfill was the catalyst to searching for a new operator.

Arnold said if the operation is going as well as they think it has, it will likely have at least 17 year lifespan. Without the life extension to the landfill, Carson trash would have to be taken elsewhere, which would cause an increase in rates.

"You have to treat that landfill as an asset," Winkelman said. "That's the key to this whole project."

Transportation Manager John Flansberg, whose department is responsible for the actual landfill operations, said challenges have included getting rid of thousands of gulls that fed on uncovered garbage, as well as a fire in the construction debris section of the landfill. By covering garbage daily with a huge tarp and covering the trash with dirt every 10 to 14 days, the birds were reduced from flocks of thousands to a few here and there.

"We're doing a good job of getting compaction and conserving space," Flansberg said. "Things are neat and organized.

Carson City supervisors will receive an update on the landfill operation and, Flansberg hopes, approval to continue to operate the landfill.

"I think we've proven we can operate the landfill efficiently," Flansberg said. "I hope we'll get a vote of confidence from the board to continue to operate it."

-- Carson City supervisors will also review a $103,000 contract to design improvements to Fuji Park. The contract, being granted to Lumos and Associates, includes plans for an irrigation system to the park as well as other design services.

If you go:

What: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting

When: today, 8:30 a.m.

Where: the Community Center's Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.


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