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During a public hearing Monday, September 26, the Lemhi County Commissioners opened the county’s 2016-17 budget, to adjust for expenditures not known to be required at the time the budget was originally adopted. The funds will come from cash reserves and Presidential Primary reimbursement.

Items included employee medical insurance, election supplies and labor, solid waste repairs and tools plus construction and materials related to the Rattlesnake Bridge and a heavy equipment purchase. The various adjustments came to a total of $405,083.

There were no public comments offered either for or against the budget adjustments and the commissioners accepted the changes by way of Resolution 2016-17.

The county is in the process of restructuring Lemhi County Landfill operations in an effort to make the facility more cost efficient. Part of the process includes implementing a rate increase of from seven to nine percent on refuse deposited at the landfill by Custer County.

On Monday the commissioners spoke by telephone to Challis City Councilman Michael Barrett and Wendell Gohn of Blue Mountain Refuse. The city of Challis is tied to Blue Mountain by way of a franchise agreement and due to the percentage of increase, that city will have to provide a public hearing. Lemhi County’s original implementation date for the rate increase was October 1 however; due to the time-frame connected with public hearing publications and short notice of the rate change, that date cannot be met.

Barrett commented on what he called a fairly steep increase. He asked if this year’s increase has to be this much and if there are plans to keep increasing the rates in the future. Commissioner John Jakovac explained the need to meet Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regulations and said that the rate increases will bring the county’s facility up to a more sustainable level. He predicted that any future increases will be in line with the yearly rate of inflation.

Commissioner Ken Miner told Barrett that all of the county’s landfill fees are being restructured and in the process one of the issues that has arisen is the fact Lemhi County is accepting Custer County’s garbage but Lemhi County taxpayers are footing the entire disposal bill. He said the increase from $33.50 a ton to $50 a ton is to offset the tax issue as well as related expenses.

Jakovac recounted other ongoing costs involved with providing the landfill facility such as; upgrades required by DEQ regulations as well as closure costs that go on for years. He said the trash hauled from Custer County amounts to almost a third of the Lemhi County Landfill’s annual tonnage and that that third is enough to place the county in a higher category of DEQ regulations.

Commissioner Rick Snyder acknowledged the points mentioned by Barrett and said this county will extend the fee increase implementation date to January 1, 2017. He said in the meantime the board is willing to reconsider the rate per ton.

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