Group to look into waste management

Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2006

A proposal by an Anchorage company to take over portions of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Solid Waste Department operations has prompted Mayor John Williams to form an independent working group to evaluate the borough’s options.

In a press release Tuesday, Williams announced formation of the group and the appointment of four peninsula business owners, two of whom are former lawmakers.

On the panel will be:

· Darrell Jelsma, longtime local business owner;

· Chris Moss, a Homer fisherman and former member of the borough assembly;

· Mike Navarre, local business owner, former member of the state House and former borough mayor; and

· Charles Obendorf, longtime local business owner.

Williams said the goal of the working group would be to make preliminary recommendations whether the borough should consider selling or leasing part or all of the solid waste department’s operations to a private sector company or companies.

The recent proposal that prompted the group’s formation came from the Anchorage-based Alaska Waste. According to the company Web site, Alaska Pacific Environmental Services Anchorage LLC, doing business as Alaska Waste, has acquired the operations of the former Waste Management of Alaska in Anchorage, Wasilla, Kodiak and the Kenai Peninsula.

Williams said he would evaluate the working group’s recommendations and then bring them to the assembly for consideration and further action. That could include more in-depth analysis or action on specific recommendations.

Questions regarding the working group should be directed to the mayor’s office at 714-2150.

The working group is expected to appoint a spokesperson after it has begun work.

Not long ago, the borough’s Central Peninsula Landfill was operated by a private firm, Waste Management Inc., a Houston company that ran the landfill through its subsidiary Peninsula Sanitation. But Waste Management sold its Alaska interests and did not renew its contract with the borough.

The borough assembly approved managing the landfill in-house, saying savings could be expected over time. The borough assumed operational control Jan. 1, 2005.

Eleven borough positions were established to replace former contract positions. Three of those jobs went to borough employees, while eight were filled from a pool of 500 applicants, according to then Mayor Dale Bagley.



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