A few years ago, the Regional Landfill was facing a deficit and an uncertain future. The Rappahannock Regional Solid Waste Management Board (R-Board) came up with a strategy to put the landfill back on track financially, and those steps appear to indicate success.
“Early FY2018 numbers show that the Regional Landfill will achieve a positive net asset balance for the first time since 2014. This is a measure of overall financial performance which takes into account revenues, expenditures, assets and liabilities, and will enable the landfill to continue to refine and improve the excellent service it provides to the community,” said Chairman of the Stafford Board of Supervisors Meg Bohmke and R-Board member. “I give credit to the R-Board and landfill staff on finding innovative ways to make the landfill more viable.”
The R-Board operates and maintains the Regional Landfill and recycling drop-off facilities for the benefit of the citizens of Stafford and the City of Fredericksburg. In 2015, the landfill was faced with declining revenues and an inability to build another cell for waste. The R-Board and landfill staff took steps to turn around the situation, including reducing expenses; requesting financing support from Stafford and Fredericksburg, both of which backed the financing of the new cell; charging fees for residential customers; and implementing flow control guaranteeing that waste generated in Fredericksburg and Stafford was disposed of at the landfill.
“None of these decisions were easy, and the fix was not a quick one,” said Chairman of the R-Board and Fredericksburg Vice-Mayor Billy Withers. “But these steps provided a business model for a sustainable landfill, and it has allowed us to focus on other priorities and action plan for the road ahead.”
In a summary, provided to the R-Board at its most recent meeting in August, statistics show that commercial waste deliveries are up 18% over last year and nearly double the numbers from the start of flow control a few years ago. Expenses were lower than the amount approved in the budget. The positive returns have allowed the R-Board to replenish reserve funds. During the coming year, the R-Board plans to prioritize the replacement of a critical piece of equipment in use since 1988 and pay off the financing for the last landfill cell construction.
Despite the good financial news, the landfill does face some challenges in the years ahead. The recycling market has become volatile in the last few months, with America’s biggest trade partner – China – cutting off all imports. That has resulted in a loss of revenue on the recycling side of the landfill. The R-Board is discussing possible changes to reduce losses while keeping the recycling opportunity available for citizens. The R-Board is turning an eye to replacing outdated and inefficient equipment, much of which is more than 20-years-old, as well as determining how to fund the next landfill cell.
The R-Board meets quarterly in the Board Chambers of the George L. Gordon, Jr., Government Center, 1300 Courthouse Road, Stafford, VA 22554. The next meeting is at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 28, 2018. All interested parties are invited to attend.