County supports opening new landfill

ESCANABA – The Delta County Board of Commissioners took a step toward opening a new landfill at its Tuesday meeting. The board approved renewing a landfill letter of credit resolution to provide financial backing to the Delta Solid Waste Management Authority (DSWMA).

According to DSWMA manager Don Pyle, the $1.1 million in letters of credit are required by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to provide financial assurance as the DSWMA prepares to open a new landfill. The board had originally established a letter of credit resolution at an Oct. 2012 board meeting.

According to the resolution, the letters of credit are to assure compliance with environmental and other laws connected to the already-constructed landfill. The landfill is located on the north side of 19th Avenue North in Escanaba, directly across from the existing landfill on the south side of the street.

“We are looking for the county to stand behind the Delta Solid Waste Management Authority by providing a cosigner to the landfill authority for these letters of credit,” said Pyle. “Once we have these assurances, we’ll be applying for that license for the north side and we will begin operating that sometime in fall to early winter.”

He said although DSWMA currently has all the financial securities in place for operating the existing south side landfill, they will now have to cover for operating two landfills at one point.

“There’s going to be a period of time here where we are unable to cover, for DEQ purposes and bank purposes, our own financial assurance,” explained Pyle. “We’re looking at probably a five- to six-year period where we need this financial assurance to be able to operate the north side, close down the south side and get ourselves back into a one landfill mode of operation again.”

The board unanimously approved granting the renewal.

The board also approved transferring $10,000 from the county’s general fund to the building and zoning fund to comply with a Department of Treasury deficit elimination plan that addresses a deficit balance in the building and zoning fund from FY 2011-12.

“The transfer to the building and zoning fund from the general fund is an acceptable plan, but it requires an authorizing resolution for the transfer,” explained Administrator Nora Viau.

She said the funding accounts for the county’s zoning commitment to townships.

In other business, the board:

adopted a resolution of the Upper Peninsula Association of County Commissioners (UPACC) requesting the state of Michigan allow county and local governments to collect full market value tax rates on Commercial Forest Reserve land instead of the current reduced taxes established by the Commercial Forest Act.

adopted a UPACC resolution to support Gov. Rick Snyder’s plan to increase access to health insurance coverage for low-income workers, families, and veterans.

adopted a UPACC resolution requesting the state legislature implement a plan to improve Michigan roads and highways.