ELKINS - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will travel to Elkins Wednesday to officially sign "the landfill bill," lifting the heavy financial burden associated with the Elkins-Randolph County Landfill.
Government officials, including Elkins Mayor Van Broughton, have extended an invitation to all local residents to join in the celebration.
"We are ready for this celebration and honored to have the governor visit us as we host this signing," Broughton said. "This is one of the biggest events in Elkins history, and the bill will be helpful to the residents and those in local government."
Broughton said Tomblin will sign House Bill 4339 at 11 a.m. in the City Council Chambers at Elkins City Hall.
"This bill will help residents now and in the future as the city moves forward," Broughton said. "It is a win-win situation for the city officials and the residents of Elkins. It will solve lots of financial issues and remove the financial burden from the residents and help the balance of the general fund."
Del. Denise Campbell, D-Randolph, was the lead sponsor of the bill.
"We are very excited for those in Elkins and Randolph County to host the governor as he signs the landfill bill," Campbell said. "This piece of legislation will help the city by allowing access to LCAP funds past the original due date for applications. The city paid into these funds, and this will allow the landfill to be capped and closed."
The Landfill Closure Assistance Program (LCAP) was established to help close landfills and was funded by a special revenue of $3.50 per ton imposed upon the disposal of solid waste at any solid waste disposal facility in West Virginia. Elkins missed the deadline to apply for funds to assist with the closure of the landfill, but will be able to apply for these funds with the passage of House Bill 4339.
Other sponsors of the bill were Del. William Hartman, D-Randolph, Del. Bill Hamilton, R-Upshur, Del. Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton, and Del. Dana Lynch, D-Webster.
Campbell said HB 4339 passed unanimously through the House Judiciary and Financial committees, as well as on the House floor, before going to the Senate Judiciary and Financial committees. The bill passed both Senate committees, but was amended to include a facility in Wayne County. The amended bill passed the House floor with only one delegate voting no, she said.
Campbell said the bill was needed because the deadline for applications for state assistance to close landfills was in 2000, but the city of Elkins did not apply. The Elkins-Randolph County Landfill was closed in September 2011, but the landfill faces about $333,700 in annual operating costs and $262,274 in outstanding debt. The landfill has not generated any revenue since its closure.
"I am happy the governor can fit the signing in his schedule," Campbell said. "I want to encourage folks to come and celebrate because this is a big day for everyone."
Campbell said former mayors of Elkins and other legislators are planning to attend Wednesday's festivities.