Keeping Our Landfill & Low Local Rates:
One of the biggest controversies impacting Cowlitz County was whether to privatize management of the Headquarters Landfill. Initially, I supported the idea of ;looking at outside companies to run the system. Our city partners, as well as our industrial customers, though, opposed any change in management. It was quite an education for me on landfill operations, including converting to electricity or natural gas the methane from rotting garbage, and the potential to keep more rainwater out of the landfill so it can refresh Silver Lake.
I was asked to reach out to city leaders across the county for their advice. Together we established management goals for the landfill that will provide for about 75 years of operation and target those conversion/diversion goals. We expect that staff will present a new management plan early next year. The city leaders also agreed to a profit-sharing plan on landfill revenue from outside the county.
With that mission accomplished, we set about to make money from this $500 million landfill asset. Two of us commissioners decided to retain county management control and to maintain for in-county customers the lowest rates in the entire west side of Washington state. We now charge rent to the Public Works Department to run the landfill, based on competitive rates charged customers mainly from outside the county. This raised an estimated $6 million last year alone.
WEBER'S EXPERIENCE GETS THINGS DONE