The Flathead County Commissioners approved the purchase of the Somers’ garbage container site from the state, progressing plans for county waste container consolidation.
The site, which has been owned by the Montana Transportation Department, houses county green boxes for trash drop-off. Public Works Director Dave Prunty said it would cost the county $130,000 to buy the Somers site.
The Somers purchase is part of the county’s efforts to consolidate numerous green box sites. Prunty said the other sites on the southern border of the county, in Lakeside and Bigfork, are not big enough to support consolidation.
“In Bigfork, we’ve taken up all the ground MDT has to lease us,” Prunty said. Without more space, the county can’t enhance the site with fences or other features, he added.
The state was not interested in selling the Lakeside site, Prunty said. So that narrowed the choices down to Somers.
“It’s a big site,” Prunty said. “It would be capable of handling the garbage out of the Lakeside site.”
County waste container consolidation should work in three phases, Prunty said. The first phase was the Marion site closing and joining up with Kila, which caused considerable friction with Marion residents.
The Flathead County solid waste district will probably look at closing two of three sites on Highway 2, located at Essex, Denny’s and Nyack, Prunty said.
For the third phase, the board will likely work out the Bigfork and Lakeside sites, Prunty said. The consolidation efforts stem from a population explosion of 25 percent in Flathead County in the past 10 years, meaning the rural counties could outgrow the popular waste program, county officials said.
The next solid waste board meeting will be Sept. 22 at 5 p.m.
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