There was a lot of trash talk when members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly traveled to the state capital last week. With reconfiguration of the Homer Baling-Landfill Facility the borough's No. 1 priority, expiration of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation permit in February 2013 and need to transform it to a transfer site was the topic of the week.
"They absolutely understand the need," said Borough Mayor Dave Carey, who met with all four state senators and representatives representing areas of the borough including those specifically representing the Homer area, Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, and Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak. He also presented the project to Gov. Sean Parnell and his staff.
Carey said he made it clear the borough already has set aside the $3.8 million needed to close out the site, but is seeking help with the estimated $12 million to turn it into a transfer site, with household waste trucked to the Central Peninsula Landfill in Soldotna.
To illustrate the funding need, Carey provided copies of the borough's budget.
"Once you take away education, our entire budget is $12 million," said Carey. "There is no way to find an extra $11 or $12 million in a $12 million budget."
In response, Carey said he was "hopeful for (the state) funding part of it."
Assembly members Bill Smith, who represents the city of Homer, and Mako Haggerty, who represents the southern peninsula excluding the city of Homer, also believed the landfill message was well received.
"I think we've got a pretty fair chance of getting the transfer station funded so we can afford to do it," said Smith. "Hopefully we'll get some help from the state."
"Everybody understood the urgency and that we're coming up against some regulatory demands. I think everybody is aware of what we need to do," said Haggerty.
Feb. 9 was the deadline for bids to be received by the borough for the next step in the landfill project, preparing a design and construction cost package that will put a finer point on how much funding is needed. According to the borough's purchasing office, a successful bidder will be selected later this week.
Jack Maryott, KPB solid waste director, will be in Homer Feb. 25 to meet with area residents. Maryott will provide an update on the landfill project, listen to concerns and answer questions from the public.
The meeting will be held at the Cowles Council Chambers from 5:30-7 p.m.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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