A representative from Inland Empire Paper Co. told the Millwood City Council the business wants to be excluded from the Spokane County agreement for a regional solid waste program if the city decides to sign on.
Environmental manager Doug Krapas voiced his company’s opposition to the current county deal during a special council meeting Tuesday.
“Certainly if the city is willing to look at other alternatives we would support that decision,” Krapas said, “and assist you in looking at those alternatives.”
Inland Empire Paper is owned by the Cowles Co., which also owns The Spokesman-Review.
Krapas said the company has three main concerns with the city signing the interlocal agreement: regulatory, liability and economic.
“Probably the most important is economic,” Krapas said. “We’re talking about hundreds of thousands and potentially millions of dollars in implications to our company in regards to this issue.”
He also expressed concern over the uncertainty the agreement proposes with rates and lack of control at the local level.
“Signing a contract with no costs and have no authority over the program sounds to me like you’re signing your lives away,” Krapas said. “I think this is primarily a heavy-handed maneuver by the county and Waste Management to monopolize control over regional solid waste control program here.”
City representatives have previously voiced concerns over the lack of rate information.
At Tuesday’s meeting, city attorney Brian Werst said another issue of concern is that by signing on, the city would be agreeing in advance to any amendments, revisions or additions made to the plan.
Included in the county’s agreement is a flow control ordinance, which outlines a system of solid waste disposal at designated sites, including industrial waste.
“You have a significant industrial waste generator in the city,” Werst said. “IEP, who currently has solid waste hauled privately.”
Although the county has not indicated plans to haul industrial waste, with the city agreeing to all future changes it could potentially have an impact on the paper company.
“By agreeing to the interlocal agreement, you are directing all solid waste be subject to flow control and go through the county system,” Werst said.
The county extended the city’s deadline for the third time, this time to the end of May, to make a decision on the agreement.
Millwood has joined with Liberty Lake, Airway Heights and Deer Park to seek alternatives to the county’s plan. The deadline for proposals has been extended a third time to May 27.
“That deadline keeps extending farther and farther,” Mayor Kevin Freeman said.
The council scheduled another special meeting for June 3 at 6 p.m. to make a decision about the issue.
Railroad restricts parking
Also Tuesday, the council addressed concerns about parking on Euclid Avenue. Union Pacific Railroad recently restricted parking along its right-of-way between its tracks and Euclid.
“This is detrimental to the businesses,” said Margie Anderson of Commercial Lending Northwest.
Millwood businesses have used parking along the tracks for years.
Among the upcoming parking concerns – the farmers market at Millwood Presbyterian Church.
“Next Wednesday is the first farmers market,” Better for Business founder Shirene Young said. “They already use that whole space there. That’s a very big deal coming up.”
City officials and members of the business community discussed options to use in the interim such as the Masonic Temple’s parking lot or the empty lot owned by the county on the south side of the tracks on Argonne Road.
“We as the business community would like to see this put on the front burner,” business owner Jim Burke said.
Freeman said he will reach out to Union Pacific early next week.
“You have our commitment this is an issue and that this will be worked through as quickly as possible,” Freeman said.