The drop-off bay is seen at the Soldotna Landfill on June 27, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion file)

The drop-off bay is seen at the Soldotna Landfill on June 27, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion file)

Assembly approves more money for borough transfer facility contracts

The Kenai Peninsula Borough needs about $654,000 more than it thought it needed

The Kenai Peninsula Borough needs about $654,000 more than it thought it needed to run four transfer sites throughout the borough. That’s according to legislation passed by assembly members Tuesday that pulled those funds from the borough’s general fund.

Two contracts — one for Seward and another for Kenai, Nikiski and Sterling — are set to expire at the end of this year. Kenai Peninsula Borough Solid Waste Director Lee Frey wrote in an Oct. 11 memo to assembly members that both contracts were recently put out to bid and the cost for services was higher than what was budgeted for in the current fiscal year.

Of the money approved through the legislation, about $237,000 will be used for operation and maintenance of the Seward Transfer Facility. The approximately $417,000 remaining will be used for operation and maintenance at transfer sites in Kenai, Nikiski and Sterling.

Solid waste was the third-largest recipient of money from the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s general fund for the current fiscal year — behind education and general government operations. The budget predicted solid waste would account for roughly 11% of general fund expenditures, or about $10.6 million.

A $9.3 million leachate project has been the focus of additional project funding over the last year.

Leachate comes from water that percolates through landfills and may contain toxic chemicals that modern landfills are designed to prevent from contaminating groundwater or surface water, according to Cornell University’s Waste Management Institute. The borough’s tank collects, treats and delivers water and wastewater.

The borough allocated $6 million of the money it received through the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 toward the project and also received $3.36 million from the Environmental Protection Agency for the project. The EPA money required an $840,000 local match from the borough.

Assembly members in May approved the use of $90,000 leftover from another project for lighting improvements at borough solid waste facilities. The assembly approved in September 2021 the use of $175,000 for brushing around solid waste facilities, as well as just over $326,000 for a project at the Homer Solid Waste Facility.

The borough has a separate fund for solid waste projects that the borough can draw from in addition to the general fund.

A fully copy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Fiscal Year 2023 budget can be found on the borough’s finance page at kpb.us/finance-dept/.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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