FERRIS — The Ferris City Council voted 4 to 1 Monday night to enter into an agreement with Waste Management amending an original settlement agreement from 1992.
“After over a year of negotiations, we have reached an agreement that we feel comfortable bringing to the city council for vote,” city manager Eric Strong noted in a memorandum to the council that included a spreadsheet showing the financial benefit of the new agreement. “The summary is that it will provide an approximate additional $8.2 million over the next 30 years of the agreement and a total of an additional $32.5 million over the extended life of the agreement. This is in addition to the $32.9 million that we are already planning on bringing in over the next 30 years.”
Rick Losa, division landfill manager at Waste Management Inc. of Houston, was on hand to provide details concerning the new host agreement, saying that about 4 acres would be added to the landfill, reconfiguring the north edge of the Skyline Landfill which adjoins Ferris to the north, calling for the relocation of a pond and expanding the landfill capacity by about 20 million cubic feet and extending the life of the methane gas production.
“We currently have 31 years left in the production of methane gas and the reconfiguration of Skyline Landfill would extend that by 18 years, giving us 49 years of production,” Losa said.
Comments and reaction were opened up to the public concerning the WM initiative and beside the opposing vote by Alderman Gary Ross, citing the need for further information, three Ferris residents voiced their concerns. “I’m not opposed to the primary changes (in the landfill configuration) but I’m concerned about the 24-hour operation,” Dave Sacha said. “There needs to be an understanding before this host agreement is made concerning how many trucks will be in operation – it’s essentially going to double not only the hours, but the traffic.” He also cited concerns over the potential “off-site” mitigation of the wetlands area associated with the reconfiguration of the north side of Skyline Landfill.
“I have a problem with this extended agreement,” said another Ferris resident Jay Walsh. “I’m afraid we’re selling low.”
Phillip Curtis also voiced concerns that sufficient maps and concept plans be made to the city in regard to moving the water retention pond.
In other action, the council voted to provide nonprofit donation forms to potential jurors in lieu of the $6 jurors service fee. Jurors can also check a box on the form to have the fee mailed to them. Strong explained the issue to the council.
“The problem we’ve had is many jurors don’t cash their checks and it creates problems in processing,” he said. “We have two options – we can just dispense with the fees altogether or we can provide forms for jurors to fill out, directing their fee(s) to a nonprofit of their choice.”
Marti Shew, Dallas/Fort Worth area vice president of First Southwest Company, gave a report to the council concerning the city’s financial strength in regard to the issuance of certificates of obligation for construction on the baseball fields and library.
“The city of Ferris has a strong credit rating of A-plus,” Shew said. “Because of that, interest rate on $1.5 million would be set at 3.57 percent.”