As the Butler County Commission seeks to maintain efficiency at the Butler County Landfill, several changes have been proposed.

As the Butler County Commission seeks to maintain efficiency at the Butler County Landfill, several changes have been proposed.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners held a work session to discuss the possibility of raising tipping fees and reducing or closing some of the landfill’s programs.

“It’s been so long since we’ve done anything,” said public works director Darryl Lutz. “We’re behind on revenues.”

He believes slight fee increases can help with that problem.

“I feel like we need to do something even if it’s a small step right now,” said Lutz. “For right now what I’d like to do is consider increasing the per ton fee from $30 to $31 for regular trash.”

This would be the landfill’s first increase for regular waste since January 2007. The small load fee will increase from $7 to $10 on Jan. 1, 2013.

Other proposals included raising the tipping fee for Marion County trash from $34 to $35, increasing construction waste from $21 to $25 and special waste (such as asbestos) from $60 to $62.

Commissioner Peggy Palmer expressed concern about raising fees and asked Lutz to look into bringing in more trash from outside the county.

“We are working on proposals,” replied Lutz. “We’ve been working on proposals for the last two years but haven’t been able to get anything.”

He also noted if more trash from outside the county begins to come in after the tipping fees are raised, the fees can always be lowered again.

“We have to do something,” said Lutz. “It’s still costing us more to do basic programs than what we’re generating.”

Previous proposals included:

• close the construction and demolition section on Saturdays.

• reduce landfill operating hours on Saturday to 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

• bring in trash from outside Butler County.

• increase minimum load charges.

• increase clean-up rates.

• pass on some disposal costs to customers.

• tipping fee increase.

• discontinue composting.

• discontinue wood grinding.

• discontinue HHW mobile collections.

“Based upon our current fees and miscellaneous revenues, we’re going to have about a $340,000 gap,” Lutz said of what was budgeted for landfill operations and post-closure expenses for this year.

He estimates the proposed fee increases would generate approximately $100,000 to help with the shortfall.

The commissioners will continue to look at revenue options for the landfill.

In other business, the commission:

• presented the Kansas Emergency Management Association Life Membership Award to Jim Schmidt, director of Butler County Emergency Management.

• presented Butler County Emergency Management with a special recognition for best practices cooperative partnership with a National Weather Service award.

• approved the maintenance agreement with Liebert for emergency communications equipment.

• reviewed and approved the 2012 cereal malt beverage license for Route 54 Fastrip.

• approved the contract between Sunflower State Health Plan and the Butler County Health Department.

• received and opened sealed bids for snow plow and motor grader blades for the highway division.

• received and opened sealed proposals for sign making equipment.

• noted that work will soon begin on the existing Pony Express Pipeline, which will be converted from shipping natural gas to crude oil. The commissioners plan to have a road maintenance agreement in place for this project, as they did with TransCanada during the Keystone pipeline construction.

• approved the replacement of three heating units for the Andover Fire Station. The cost will be split with the City of Andover.

• discussed possible projects at the Butler County Courthouse that could be funded with the remaining $60,000 National Treasure Grant. The grant program is a 50/50 match, so funds spent from the grant would have to be matched by the county.