Oak Harbor considers its transfer station

Oak Harbor is looking at building its own solid waste transfer station.

At a Public Works standing committee meeting earlier this month, city officials said a contract with Island County will expire next year that will allow them to build the new facility. Once built, the dump is expected to save about $72,000 a year.

“That’s just a rough amount,” Wastewater Operations Manager Steve Bebee said.

Currently, the city is required under contract to haul its garbage to the Island County dump just south of Coupeville. Five trucks make the daily trip, consuming about 200 minutes of employee time and costing the city an average of $154 a day in fuel, he said.

Although nothing concrete has been proposed, the city’s existing public works facility on Sixteenth Avenue is being considered as a possible site. Cost for the proposed dump is also undetermined as it will depend on the facility’s complexity.

For example, the state Department of Ecology may require a covered structure. If not, the facility may be little more than a cleared space. But whatever is built, Oak Harbor Public Works Director Cathy Rosen said she is  confident that it wouldn’t take long for it to begin paying for itself.

“I think it would just take a couple of years to pay back the initial capital costs,” she said.

It will be a few more months before any solid numbers are compiled. Once that’s done, and it looks like the facility really will result in long-term savings, Rosen said she would likely ask the city council to approve a budget amendment.

Money is tight in the 2011 to 2012 budget due to a decline in sales tax and other city revenues, but the proposal appears to have the support of Mayor Jim Slowik. During the meeting, he said the expected savings would likely justify the expense.

“I think it makes sense to consider this,” Slowik said.

If built, the dump would not be open to the general public for dumping or recycling but would be reserved solely for city dump trucks.


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