Supervisors to discuss funding for landfill

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By JOSHUA WOLFSON

Tuolumne County supervisors tomorrow will discuss a plan to raise garbage rates and borrow $1 million to secure enough money to pay for the closure of the Jamestown Landfill.

County officials have set aside millions of dollars to pay for the closure, but learned recently they still face a significant shortfall.

The plan up for consideration tomorrow includes borrowing $1 million from a county transportation fund for the project, then raising rates for curbside garbage collection and the use of county transfer stations to repay the loan, according to a report by county Public Works Director Peter Rei.

A second increase is also requested to balance the county's Environmental Management Division budget and pay for everyday operations, post-closure maintenance and work on both of the county's landfills, the report states.

Supervisors won't vote on increases tomorrow. Instead, they are being asked to set an April 6 public hearing regarding the matter.

Together, the increases total an additional $6.70 per ton. For curbside customers, that would translate to about a dollar a month, although the actual rate would depend on the carrier and the level of service.

Last month, the Board of Supervisors approved plans to seal the 17-acre Jamestown dump with a 3-foot layer of soil. Work should begin later this spring.

The project is estimated to cost between $4 million and $5 million. The county has already set aside $3.3 million in a trust fund, collected from fees paid by dump users to help pay for the closure. That means between $675,000 and $1,675,000 is needed to award the construction contract, according to Rei's report.

If the dump closure project is not completed by Dec. 31, the county could face fines from the state.

The dump must be sealed to prevent rain from mixing with buried garbage and contaminating ground water.

The landfill, which opened in 1974 and accepted trash until 1995, sits on a 54-acre site off Camp Seco Road in Jamestown. After it was closed, a foot of soil was placed over the landfill as a temporary measure.

Contact Joshua Wolfson at jwolfson@uniondemocrat.com .

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