The closure of a nearby landfill will lead to a slightly higher waste collection bill for Little Elm residents.
Tuesday the Little Elm Town Council approved an amendment to the commercial and solid waste and recycling contract with Community Waste Disposal (CWD).
With the amendment, residential customers will pay approximately $1.25 more per household per month.
In 2015 the town entered into a six-year contract with CWD, which included a set residential rate until 2022.
“There’s been some changes in the market regarding solid waste,” said Deputy Town Manager Doug Peach said. “Specifically this past year one of the major landfills in our area closed down, the DFW Landfill. At that time it placed CWD in a position they didn’t anticipate when they entered the contract.”
Greg Roemer, president of CWD, described the challenges CWD, which delivered its waste to DFW Landfill, was faced with.
“We knew it was coming,” Roemer said. “And we knew when it did close it would be a really, really big deal.”
Roemer said it is rare for landfills to close as they can stay open for up to 100 years.
“When one does close, you can rest assured that costs are going to go up,” Roemer said. “And usually significantly. Why? Because we will have to driver farther and probably have to pay more. More trucks, more hours, more equipment and greater disposal costs.”
As a result of the landfill closure CWD contracted with the city of Denton for disposal services. Its expenses increased to about $13.74 per ton, which is a 62-percent increase.
With the amendment the rates will change effective Feb. 1.
“(It would be) an amendment that would not only allow them to overcome that increase in operational cost but also one where the town may be able to achieve something as well,” Peach said.
The amendment includes a three-year extension of the existing contract. The new rate will remain until September 2022, and it would require town approval for it go to up after that.
“The way it would work is they would lock in those residential rates for the next two years, eight months,” Peach said. “At that time it would allow them to petition us for a possible rate increase if they aren’t able to successfully obtain the same contract or same contract costs that they have today. We would have the opportunity to move away from the contract and go out to bid for that service.”
Roemer said CWD received a letter stating it would have to stop delivery to DFW Landfill by Jan. 1 and sooner if the company didn’t scale back some of its delivery.
Roemer said CWD began delivering some of its waste to Skyline Landfill in Ferris, just south of Dallas.
“There’s good things for both parties,” Roemer said of the amendment. “We get the money to cover this expense. You get an extra timeframe of a guarantee.”
Council members said they were initially concerned about a rate increase and a contract change. But they said considering the circumstances, as well as the services the town still gets, they were OK with the amendment.
“When you consider the amount of services we get and the Clean and Green events you guys sponsor for us, it’s a great trade-off,” Councilman Nick Musteen said.