Event Notice: Comment on Proposed Closure of Bigfork Green Box Site, Jan 22, 2013

by Catherine Haug, January 15, 2013 (from a local flyer)

Did you know that the county plans to close our green box site on Hwy 83 near Bigfork Stage? Join fellow Bigfork Citizens who care, at the meeting of the Solid Waste Board.

  • What: Meeting of Flathead County Solid Waste Board
  • When:Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 3 PM
  • Where: Fathead Co. Solid waste Office; 4098 Hwy 93 N, Kalispell MT (Turn west at the landfill)
  • Who: Free, and open to the public. Any and all who care to comment on the proposed closure are encouraged to attend, or send your comments by email (see below).

Additional Info:

If you cannot attend, email your thoughts to the Solid Waste Board at dmorine@flathead.mt.gov.

It’s also a good idea to send your comments to the County Commissioners, as they can override the decision of the Solid Waste Board, either way. (see below for more information and a sample letter opposed to the Board’s plan).

What has the local media reported about this controversy? See below.

Send comments to county commissioners via email:

See below for a sample letter opposing the closure, by Beth Morgenstern. She gives permission to copy her letter. To view the Solid Waste Board’s Dec 14, 2012 letter to the county commissioners cited in Beth’s letter, go to Flathead Co. Documents, then click on ‘Letter to CC Bigfork Lakeside Consolidation.pdf (updated 12/14/12)” to download the 5-page pdf.

 Beth’s letter to the county commissioners:

Dear Commissioners,

As a citizen of Flathead County, I ask that you read my letter.  As do many others, I use the green boxes  in Bigfork on a regular basis.  I am distressed that the Solid Waste Department plans to close our site.  I would like to respond to the points in Dave Prunty’s December 14, 2012 memo to you.

1.  Currently the Bigfork site is leased from DNRC for $2000/year. This sounds like a very reasonable price,yet the memo argues that the cost of the site is unreasonable. Additionally, Dave explained that he tried years ago to purchase land for the sites, and was unable to do so, for lack of sellers.

My two questions:

a. If the county can afford to buy land, why is the cost of operating the current site such an issue?

b. When is the last time he tried to buy land, if that is the priority?  There’s a lot of land available cheaper today than there was 10 years ago when Dave was searching!

2.  The Bigfork site is very small. Granted it is, but we have managed to make use of it for years, and it is heavily used.  The argument that “it’s too small so let’s eliminate it” just doesn’t make sense for the citizens.

3. ” …we can’t control the citizens from driving in behind our trucks”:  Orange cones might work..or a gate that could close..or perhaps the truck could come at a time, early or late, when there is little use.  This sounds like a management problem:  we can’t control it, so we’re going to eliminate it. This strategy is not oriented towards the good of the community!

4.  Dumpers are breaking the rules.  Again, management: we’re not controlling it, so let’s eliminate it rather than correcting it.

5.  County wants to staff the sites for control:  will that not eliminate all cost savings?

6.  “Safety of our customers and employees is our number one concern”.  If that is the case, how can you tell your Bigfork customers to drive further, on dangerous roads, to a site further away?

7. “The un-fenced site has visual impact…”  We of Bigfork will find a way to fix that, if you’ll let us!  A volunteer group tried once before and was told not to proceed.

8.  Identity theft:  We can educate people to take personal responsibility here!   They can learn to destroy their private information before dumping it.

9.  Managing assessments in the most efficient manner for taxpayers:  it isn’t efficient for those in Bigfork to have to drive to Somers to dump!  That solution saves the county and costs the taxpayers.

10. Litter along highways:  the further people drive, the more litter there will likely be!

11.“Reducing the number of sites will reduce some liability the county could incur”:  Yes, but it increases the liability for citizens.

I understand that operating the county is a big job in many ways, and that cost and safety must be major priorities.

Please, Commissioners, insist that Solid Waste work with the citizens to find a solution for the green boxes in Bigfork that doesn’t “dump” on the people!

Thank you for your consideration,

Your name & contact info

 What the media has said about this issue

The county has indicated that Bigfork residents can easily switch to using the Somers or Creston green box sites. Here’s what our local media has reported on the issue:

Comments are closed.