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Millwood retains consultant to study solid waste options

Millwood and Liberty Lake are still considering who will manage their solid waste.

Recently Spokane Valley and Airway Heights chose to go with Sunshine Disposal & Recycling. Deer Park is joining Spokane County’s Regional plan.

At Tuesday’s Millwood City Council meeting, City Attorney Brian Werst asked the council to consider engaging a consultant to review the county and Sunshine agreements.

“As we talked at the meeting last Tuesday – the mayor, staff and I feel it would be in the city’s best interest to engage a solid waste consultant,” Werst said. “Somebody who knows solid waste, knows trash, both sides of the table.”

Werst recommended independent solid waste consultant Jeff Brown of Epicenter Services, a Bellingham firm.

Brown recently worked with Spokane Valley during its decision-making process, and Werst said Liberty Lake is also considering engaging Brown.

“We would probably be in a better position to have somebody that understands it as opposed to somebody who is going to have to relearn the circumstances,” Werst said.

The council granted Mayor Kevin Freeman the authority and stipulated Brown’s services couldn’t exceed $5,000.

Werst also said the city has been in further discussion with Waste Management to see about entering into a franchise agreement.

The agreement would eliminate the seven-year notice required under the G-certificate termination process, including any obligation to pay early termination compensation. A G-certificate, issued by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, grants Waste Management the right to collect the city’s curb side solid waste.

The agreement would make the Sunshine proposal a viable option for Millwood.

“What I think Waste Management and Sunshine are looking at now is an agreement between the city of Millwood and Waste Management that would address the curb side pick-up,” Werst said. “And an agreement between Waste Management and Sunshine that would address where it is disposed.”

Werst also said the city received a letter last week from the Spokane County commissioners requesting the city to postpone taking action on the Sunshine agreement until June 19. By then the county expects to finalize significant changes in reducing gate fees for the Regional Solid Waste System.

The county is exploring financing options for regional landfill closure costs, Werst said.

“What they’re looking to do is get their cost and their proposal to the smallest dollar amount possible and make their option a better option than the private option.”

In other council business:

• Freeman expressed concern over the increased crime in the city.

“Last month we did see a spike in burglary, malicious mischief, theft and vehicle prowl,” Freeman said. “I’ve been approached by a number of residents over the last month concerned.”

Freeman said Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich plans to attend the July council meeting to discuss law enforcement in the city and address the recent crime spike.

Anyone witnessing suspicious activity is encouraged to call Crime Check (509) 456-2233.

• Council voted to waive the right-of-way permit requirements for Millwood Community Presbyterian Church to close Marguerite Road during the farmers market through the month of June. The market is open Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m.

At the July meeting, the council plans to revisit the issue and decide if the church can continue to close the road for the market.

• Millwood received two business license applications for retail marijuana locations.

Werst said the Washington State Liquor Control Board was to “provide for geographical dispersion” for the licenses, avoiding clustering of retail sites in one location.

“Millwood’s two applications are 650 feet apart,” Werst said. “Millwood received two of the seven county-at-large locations.”

The city is requesting a hearing from the Washington State Liquor Control Board asking for clarification as to the close proximity of the two locations.

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