Voters approve landfill amendment

By SAMANTHA HURST / Associate Editor

COLUMBIANA — Shelby County voters passed a measure Nov. 2 to grant the County Commission authority to use excess funds from landfill revenues toward capital improvement projects.

Proposed local amendment one was approved with 57.81 percent or 30,873 votes. Slightly more than 42 percent voted against the proposal.

Robert Kelley, environmental services manager for Shelby County, said the money could be put to good use.

“You don’t need to have money laying around not helping anybody,” he said. “So long as we can maintain the financial stability that we have in our landfill operations, that money needs to be out there helping people.”

Up to $700,000 in revenues from the Shelby County landfill are now available for use by the Shelby County Commission for capital projects.

Last year the department brought in $3.8 million in revenue and saw just $3.1 million in expenditures. That leaves approximately $700,000 in additional funds, which the new amendment allows the county to use on other projects.

Kelley said years ago this type action was prevented because those operating landfills often did not set aside enough funds for closure of areas that became overrun with trash.

Kelley said that’s no longer a problem, as the county purposefully reserves funds each year.

“You don’t know in the future what could happen but I trust our commission will use this money to the best benefit of the people,” Kelley. “Of course, we have to take care of the landfill but then the excess can be used for other projects.”

The $700,000 will increase or decrease based on the amount of remaining revenue produced by the landfill each year, according to Kelley. That could be altered by what needs arise in the landfill.

One project currently in need of attention, Kelley said, is the addition of a new cell to contain trash.

Constructing an additional cell costs about $4 million. The landfill account contains $18.5 million with 12.9 million reserved for financial assurance of closure, post closure and monitoring for 30 years, said Ed Carter, manager of financial services.

Kelley said this amendment allows the commission to only use what is made through the landfill above and beyond monies reserved for closure and post closure.

He believes closure of the current landfill will not be necessary until 2030. After that the landfill would require monitoring for 30 years.