John Tuggle of Region 4 Briefs Solid Waste Authority about Grant Possibilities

John Tuggle, the Director of the Region 4 Planning and Development Council, spoke to the members of the Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority at their May 29th meeting about the possibility of assisting them to receive financial assistance through grants.

Solid Waste Member David McLaughlin began by explaining the financial challenges the authority will be facing in a year and a half or so when the county landfill is filled to capacity and forced to close. He said that even with the County Commission purchasing the landfill for the Solid Waste Authority to use, they will still face extremely high costs to continue to collect and dispose of trash in the county. Those expenses include building and equipping a transfer station at the site; purchasing equipment, especially trucks, to haul the trash collected at the transfer station to a landfill in another county; paying the tipping fee at the other landfill; and purchasing the fuel used to deliver the trash there. McLaughlin explained that the authority will simply not have enough income or financial sources to do this without outside help from the County Commission and/or from grants.

Tuggle explained to the members that while Region 4 has provided a lot of counties, including Pocahontas County, with assistance obtaining grants, those usually involve water and sewer projects., not solid waste disposal, and he is not familiar with those grants. However, he said Region 4 is willing to help them if any solid waste project grants are found.

Tuggle explained that Region 4 provides assistance in applying for and administering grants, for which they charge a three and a half percent fee which is caped at $175,000. The fee is based on the amount of money awarded in the grant. He said the fee would be taken out of the grant funding received. Tuggle said that in most of their grants, the $175,000 cap is not reached, but they just helped Lewisburg receive a 68-million-dollar grant for a new water plant which did max out their fee at the $175,000 cap.

Tuggle said Region 4 works closely with the USDA, EPA, ARC and others to search for grant opportunities. They also work with members of the U.S. Congress to obtain Congressionally Approved Directed Spending Opportunities, commonly referred to as “earmarks.”

He recommended that the Authority begin by putting out a request for proposal (RFP) for a consultant, an attorney, getting a preliminary engineering report, and establishing a budget.

Tuggle told them they will also need to develop an interim plan to enable them to continue disposing of garbage once the landfill closes because grant funding will not likely be received before the landfill closes down.

Also at the meeting:

  • Mary Clendenen, their Office Administrator delivered a financial report in which she said as of the end of April, their budget is still on track with 83% of the budget year complete. She said they experienced a $38,201 loss in April, which was not unanticipated.
  • They discussed their pending request to the Public Service Commission (PSC) to raise their tipping fee. That approval is still pending, and the PSC is asking for more documentation, so it could take several more months to be approved. However, the PSC has green-lighted their Green Box fee increase.
  • They decided to take no action regarding new employees being required to pay a share of their PEIA Medical Insurance, fearing it could make hiring more difficult.
  • They agreed to explore using Hydro-Turf at the landfill instead of top soil to cap the cells. Hydro-Turf is a synthetic fill similar to the AstroTurf used on football fields. They said it is cheaper than top soil, it can also eliminate the need for a top liner, and it works better on steep grades.
  • Finally, it was announced that County Attorney Terri Helmick has notified them she doesn’t have time to prepare the deed for the County Commission’s purchase of the landfill.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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