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City to receive incentives with landfill expansion proposal

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FERRIS - Concerned citizens are raising questions about Waste Management’s landfill expansion since going public with the plan a few weeks ago.

The agreement, according to Waste Management Director of Disposal Operations Rick Losa, would expand the landfill by four acres.

“We already own 840 acres and the landfill currently uses 350,” said Losa during an overview of the proposal Thursday, Feb.17.

Currently, the landfill located off North Central, has an average height of 250 feet and will last 31 years. With adding just the four acres, the life expansion would increase to 49 years with no additional height added.

“We will fill in a couple ponds and round everything off where we are now, but the ponds will be relocated,” said Losa. “Nobody will lose their home.”

In 1992 the city entered a host agreement with the company to allow Skyline landfill to operate in the city. This agreement provided several benefits to the city and the citizens of Ferris as part of the landfill operations.

The updated host agreement would immediately increase host fees given to the city to match the WM Operation Center in Lewisville at $1.20 a ton instead of the current $1.03 a ton. “The Ferris agreement is even better than the Lewisville,” said Losa.

“The proposal to Ferris has a host fee to increase every five years.”

The city will also receive free trash collection for up to 1600 residential customers and 350 commercial customers as well as continue their renewable energy royalty payments which average about $100-150 thousand annually.

In addition, Skyline would like to see their landfill operate 24 hours a day.

“The waste industry is a very competitive market,” said Losa.

“By allowing us to be open all day, we have the chance to expand our contracts instead of the city of Dallas getting them who is just right down the road. The more waste we receive here, the more revenue the city gets.”

Commercial waste is generally picked up between the hours of 1-4 a.m.

Concerns of noise and extra lighting were addressed.

“We currently use portable light plants at Skyline to illuminate the disposal area during the early morning hours (4:30 a.m. till about 6:30 a.m.) and we use them currently during day light savings (5 p.m till 6:30 p.m.).  If the hours are expanded, we will continue to use the same lighting equipment already onsite, it will just be over a longer period,” said Waste Management Area Community and Municipal Affairs Manager Marla Prince.

Losa said there shouldn’t be too much difference with the noise level, since the trucks would just be coming on and off Interstate Highway 45.

While still in the negotiation stages, city staff are very positive about the outcome that could prosper if agreed upon and passed by council.

“Waste Management has been an excellent corporate citizen in the city of Ferris. They are involved in all of our community events and activities and have been a pleasure to work with,” said Mayor Rick Barrett.

Waste Management Engineering Manager Walter C. Hunt said the process has only begun.

“After the council decides, if passed, we will have several public hearings, send out legally required letters to area residents and submit our proposal to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality which can take up to 18 months for them to review,” said Hunt.

If passed, at a future council date to be determined, the landfill will possibly not have everything finalized with the expansion until 2013-2014.

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