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Publish Date: 10/20/2005

Landfill company doesn’t get all it wants from Erie

ERIE — The Front Range Landfill will grow bigger but it will not be processing liquid waste, the Erie Board of Trustees decided late Tuesday night.

Republic Services, which owns the landfill, also will be required to donate $500,000 to Erie for the town’s proposed recreation center in addition to paying taxes expected to total $32 million over the life of the landfill. Republic also will have to move the landfill entrance to the southeast corner of the property.

The company applied in 2002 to expand the Front Range Landfill, at Weld County roads 4 and 5, by 122 acres to the northeast and to the west. The proposal also calls for the height of the landfill to increase about 120 feet.

Mayor Andrew Moore and Trustees David Callahan, Glenn Massarotti, Greg McCallum and Tom Van Lone voted to approve the expansion, while Trustees Beth Klein and Harry Pink voted against it.

Before voting, the town board conducted four public hearings; the final one was Tuesday.

Will Flower, a spokesman for Florida-based Republic Services, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that the company, overall, was pleased with the outcome.

“The town greatly benefits from this project,” he said.

Republic had planned to pay Erie $1 million upfront, then, in 2013, begin deducting $43,000 a year from the surcharges it pays the town through 2036. With interest, the company estimated the $1 million would be worth $3.9 million to Erie over time, Flower said.

But Van Lone did not think that was enough and moved to require Republic to make $500,000 of the upfront payment a straight donation to the town and allow the company to deduct only $500,000 from future tax payments.

The motion carried 4-3, with Van Lone, Klein, Pink and Massarotti supporting it. McCallum and Moore expressed concern that changing the deal would undermine the town staff’s position in future negotiations, as businesses would not know if they would be negotiating in good faith.

“That will have a significant impact on the financial aspect of the landfill program,” Flower said Wednesday. “It’s a significant cost for us.”

The prohibition of processing liquid waste also affects the project’s bottom line, but Flower said Republic does not comment on the profitability of specific projects, so he would not say exactly how losing the liquid waste revenue and $500,000 in surcharge deductions would affect the project.

The company wanted to increase its business at the landfill by accepting liquid waste and combining it with an ash to make a solid similar to cement, Flower said. That waste would then be placed with other solid waste in the landfill to decompose. None of the liquid waste would include hazardous materials.

“I believe the elected officials just were not comfortable with the concept (of liquid waste), even though it’s being done throughout Colorado,” Flower said. Republic conducts solidification at some of its other landfills, none of which are in Colorado.

Although the board said Republic could propose solidification again after the entrance of the landfill is moved, Flower said, as of now, the company is not likely to do so.

In the end, he said, even with the new conditions added by Erie, the landfill “will be a success for Republic.”

Victoria Camron can be reached at 303-684-5226, or by e-mail at vcamron@times-call.com.



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