Council discussion of $4.4 M landfill expansion bids halted abruptly

Sunday Times Newspapers

RIVERVIEW – Officials here are running out of time to begin work on expansion of the city’s landfill, and a City Council discussion Monday didn’t help to move things forward.

Landfill Director Bob Bobeck was prepared to answer council questions about two bids received earlier this month to excavate 17 acres for a new section of landfill, known as Cell 6. But Councilman James Trombley, who was running a study session in Mayor Tim Durand’s absence, called for council to discontinue discussion until he could confer privately with City Attorney Randall Pentiuk.

Members in January supported the ad hoc land preserve committee’s recommendation to solicit bids to construct Cell 6. Construction cost in the approved budget is estimated at $4.4 million. Funding for the project will be provided through the city’s environmental escrow account.

After that discussion, he directed council members to address any further questions on the landfill project to City Administrator Dean Workman later. Discussion concerning the landfill Cell 6 project then was ended.

Moments before, however, Councilwoman Lynn Blanchette expressed concern about the landfill expansion.

“If revenues are down, I have a real concern whether I’m going to be voting to approve that,” she said. Blanchette also asked if a low bid could be locked in.

Bobeck said officials sought bids for the landfill job twice already, and that finishing the job during good weather may not be possible if the project doesn’t start soon. The result could be lost landfill revenues, which are a major source of income for the city.

“This is where we are up against pretty much ‘zero airspace,’ by spring of next year,” Bobeck said. “You have to build during your good weather.”

City officials have said recently that they can ill afford to lose landfill revenue, and that some current customer have been slow to pay their bills.

Blanchette asked if the reduction in revenue impacted the project, to which Bobek replied, “We’re still taking trash.”

“I know, but you’re taking less of it,” she said.

“We’re still taking a lot,” Bobeck said. “We still take a significant amount of trash. We take 2,000 tons of trash a day.”

It was then that Trombley halted the conversation and went to talk to Pentiuk.
Councilman Elmer Trombley continued to discuss the topic, saying, “I mean, you get the permit, and then you get the OK, and then it will be almost how long before we can even use it?”

Councilman Andrew Swift then reminded Elmer Trombley that James Trombley asked them to “wait.”

Several council members were jokingly sympathetic with Elmer Trombley’s desire to speak.

Bobeck jokingly said, “Nothing’s kept him quiet yet.”

Elmer Trombley then said he was “tired of keeping quiet.”

Bids for the Cell 6 construction project were due 2 p.m. March 3, per a Feb. 12 posting on the city Web site. Monday’s study session agenda indicated that council members had received attached bids from Cornerstone Environmental Group LLC dated March 3 and Charles E. Raines Co. Engineering Projects Update dated March 4.

It is not known why the Raines document was dated a day after the bids were due.

The Sunday Times filed Freedom of Information Act requests for copies of the bid attachments, along with all study session documents given to council members. However, as of press time, no documents had been made available.

As of Wednesday, the invitation to bid on the project still was listed on the city’s Web site at

The project calls for:
• The excavation of about 153,000 cubic yards of soil.
• Installation of approximately 14,500 cubic yards of structural fill.
• Installation of approximately 52,500 cubic yards of prepared subgrade soil barrier.
• Supply and installation of geosynthetic clay liner.
• Supply and installation of flexible membrane liner.
• Supply and installation of leachate collection system.
• Placement of a 2-foot drainage layer.