Elkins City Council voted unanimously Thursday to loan $30,000 to the financially troubled Elkins-Randolph County Landfill so the facility can pay bills and meet payroll.
Speaking before the vote, Treasurer Lisa Daniels-Smith noted that Council decided in a special meeting May 11 to loan $60,000 from the city's water fund to pay monthly expenses at the landfill, which has been closed since September 2011 and has no cash flow. At the time, officials said the loan would keep the landfill afloat for two months.
"This project has taken much longer than we thought it would," Daniels-Smith said Thursday, adding that the landfill currently has less than $3,000 in funds.
The resolution Council approved Thursday states the $30,000 loan will be used "to cover the debt obligations and operational expenses of the landfill until the new rates for garbage and refuse collection ... are in place."
Council voted 7-2 on July 18 to approve on its second and final reading a 32-percent rate hike on all sanitation customers to provide cash flow for the landfill. The vote was taken after a public hearing in which no residents spoke against or in favor of the rate increase.
The ordinance will raise residents' garbage collection rates $6.25 per month, while commercial customers' rates will increase $10.10 per month. The 32-percent increase will apply to all customers, including fees for dumpsters and roll-offs.
Daniels-Smith said Thursday the new rates will go into effect in September.
The resolution stated that the $30,000 loan will be "drawn down in increments of $10,000, only when needed to cover the debt obligations and operational expenses of the landfill."
Also during Thursday's meeting:
The 2013 International truck will be purchased from Newlons International Sales in Elkins at a cost of $105,400. The purchase will be financed through a local bank which has not yet been determined.
Thursday's vote also rescinded Council's decision in July to purchase a different truck - for the same purpose - with the $103,942 cost coming from the city's Landfill Post Closure Account Escrow. The city had the state Public Service Commission's blessing to use the funds, which would have to paid back to the escrow account, to buy that specific truck.
Asked Thursday why the city changed course, Operations Manager Bob Pingley said, "This truck better suits our needs, we're purchasing it locally, and the other truck would have taken six weeks to order."
Pingley said the agreement with the PSC was for the city to use funds from the escrow account only for the truck the PSC approved, so Elkins must now borrow money to purchase the truck it prefers.
"The city has to pay the money back either way," he said.
Owning the leachate truck will allow the city to stop leasing a vehicle to haul the leachate, which will save Elkins money in the long run, Pingley said.
The next Elkins City Council meeting will be 7 p.m. Aug. 29 at City Hall.