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County leaders criticize changes in hours at trash transfer stations

Jun 29, 2012 By Martin Reed, Staff Writer

Shoshoni Mayor Scott Peters called the Fremont County Solid Waste Disposal District's handling of recent changes to trash transfer station hours of operation "extremely frustrating."

"Anything we asked for, they more or less blew us off last year," Peters said at the Fremont County Association of Governments meeting June 21 in Pavillion.

He criticized the lack of communication between the town and the solid waste district with the series of schedule changes the trash board imposed in recent weeks for the transfer stations.

"Every time we deal with these folks -- it's a harsh word, but they lack integrity," Peters said. "In my mind, when somebody loses integrity, you don't gain it back."

The association's members, which include the county commission and the county's municipalities except Hudson, decided to draft a resolution expressing their dissatisfaction with the agency.

The issue with the association members involves the solid waste district's operation of the trash transfer stations in Atlantic City, Pavillion, Jeffrey City, Lysite, Shoshoni, Missouri Valley and Hudson.

The latest schedule approved by the district board opens each specified site about once a week for several hours. On June 1, the district imposed a schedule that opened the sites about three days a month -- a significant reduction from their previous 24/7 availability.

The Dubois site is not affected while the Wind River Indian Reservation transfer stations in Fort Washakie, Ethete, Crowheart and on 17 Mile Road face a questionable future as negotiations continue between the tribes and the district.

Pavillion Mayor Gary Hamlin, referring to a series of meetings the district held last year regarding the transfer stations, said the district has ignored comments made by concerned residents.

"They might've listened to us, but they sure didn't incorporate any of our suggestions," Hamlin said.

Riverton Mayor Ron Warpness recalled comments from a solid waste official about the municipality's trash operation being "the cash cow" for the district.

"It's a significant problem the county needs to address fairly and equitably across the board," Warpness said.

He and others said cities are encountering problems with illegal dumping.

"We have a Dumpster at City Hall and half of it is not City Hall," said Lander Mayor Mick Wolfe about trash collected in the receptacle.

The district needs to address the concerns, "otherwise our whole county is going to become a garbage dump while we try to figure out how to be equitable," Warpness said.

Some association members attending the meeting said they felt the district is shutting out the smaller communities in the county.

"I don't think they treat Riverton and Lander the same way they treat us and Pavillion," Peters said.

Senior citizens in Shoshoni face a $5 disposal fee at the transfer station to dispose a single bag of trash, he said.

"We wanted to figure out something to help our senior citizens ... who have one bag," Peters said.

He said the town tried to communicate with the district and "never heard anything back." Later the district "more of less told us our town was no different" than any other community, he said.

"I have not been informed by the board" about the changes to the schedule, Peters said.

Instead of telling town officials about the new schedule, the district called the Shoshoni Police Department to be vigilant about crime that could accompany the changes, he said.

Peters criticized the county commissioners for their lack of action in the matter.

"My frustration is the commissioners are part of it," he said, noting the county leaders appointed the solid waste board members.

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