WAPELLO — No increase in tipping fees or other revenue sources is anticipated in a preliminary Fiscal Year 2021 budget for the Louisa Regional Solid Waste Agency, according to Joellen Schantz, secretary-treasurer for the agency.
Schantz, who also serves as the manager for the agency’s Wapello Transfer Station, presented the $400,850 budget proposal to agency representatives during a budget work session Tuesday.
“I wanted input from (everyone),” Schantz told the group, explaining there were several “unknowns” in the proposal.
She said these included continued costs for closing the former Louisa County Landfill near Cairo; equipment upgrades; building and equipment repair costs; new software costs for the transfer station scale; and other budget line items.
“The four hundred thousand is probably low,” she acknowledged to the board, explaining a management switch last year at the transfer station made a simple rotation of numbers from the FY 20 budget impractical.
“Those are pretty accurate according to past years’ budgets,” she pointed out however, adding the unknowns were difficult to nail down at this time.
Brad Quigley, who represents the county supervisors on the agency’s board, agreed.
“It’s a guessing game, but some of these numbers are starting to make sense,” he said.
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The FY 21 budget will represent the first spending plan adopted by the agency since its former transfer station operator terminated his contract in October and the agency decided to begin managing the facility itself.
It eventually hired a Muscatine firm to handle trash hauling from the transfer station to a Milan, Ill., landfill and then hired Schantz to oversee the station management and staff, which includes three part-time scale house workers.
As part of that transition, the agency was forced to purchase a semi-tractor, trailer, end-loader and other material and equipment, which Schantz and Quigley said had boosted spending in FY 20.
Both suggested some of those costs could continue because some of the purchased equipment was old and would need replacing over the few years.
The age of the equipment and the budget’s $10,000 line item for repairs concerned Grandview Mayor Steve Schwandke.
“I don’t think (that) is enough,” he told the rest of the agency members, although he also conceded other line items, such as tires and parts could make up some of the shortfall.
“I guess there is more there than you think,” he said.
Quigley also pointed out the agency had spent around $25,000 in the current budget for repairs and other work, suggesting there could be fewer repairs in the new year.
Schantz also pointed to her own hiring as the transfer station manager as another unknown, since that was only done for a three-month trial period, which expires at the end of March.
She said at the agency’s April meeting there will need to be more discussion on that, as well as a final decision on the budget.