Claremore City Council officials approved an agenda item Monday night to create a local $1.5 million garbage transfer station.

A garbage transfer station is a building or a processing site for temporary management of waste that is deposited into large roll offs (open top dumpsters) by local waste collection trucks. The large roll offs are then transported to an end-point disposal facility, such as an incinerator or landfill in another city.

Claremore City manager Jim Thomas said concept is one which had been long considered by the city, as far back as the 1990s.

He said that the upfront investment money of $1.5 million would be recovered in six-and-a-half years. This amount, he said, is a “worse case scenario,” as the figures were arrived at before others became interested in a partnership with the city.

Once operational, the transfer station would increase efficiencies, reduce cost of refuse transport, eliminate overtime expenses, add value to industrial partners and generate revenue, Thomas said.

When Thomas took a tour of a transfer station a year ago, he began looking at the cost savings for the city and found the city would save $234,851.97 per year if they created their own.

The tipping fees paid by the city when disposing waste at a landfill cost $24 a ton, Thomas said. If the city has its own transfer station, he said, there would be a substantial reduction in just the tipping fees.

The city disposes of nearly 14,500 tons of waste a year, which equates to approximately $180,000 saved per year.

Fuel to transport the waste will result in approximately $13,072.06 in savings each year, with a reduction there as well. Truck maintenance would be reduced by one-third and employee overtime would be reduced to one-half.

Upfront costs for a transfer station caused Thomas to think thoroughly about creating one over the last few years, he said. Additionally, Commissioners Dan DeLozier, Ron Burrows and Steve Hendrix had reached out to the City of Claremore, expressing interest in being a part of the transfer station since they do have roll offs.

With the county involved, “This would be like a regional transfer station where we would collaborate with them,” he said.

In addition to the commissioners, the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office jail administration made a proposal some time back for the city to consider using inmate labor at the transfer station to help inmates reduce their time locked up.

With the jail overcrowding issues, this would provide benefit in both directions for the city and county.

“There is an opportunity here to master plan a piece of property the city owns that will allow us to do a number of things,” he said.

The city is looking at two pieces of property — one city-owned property north of Claremore and a piece of property in an industrial development area.

“It’s our belief as an administration we would like to build this into the 2018 budget, but also get some feedback from the council before we venture too far into investing the capital,” Thomas said.

Council members discussed the need for a transfer station and how beneficial this would be from a revenue standpoint down the road.

“The timing is right, the reserves are there and we have a great partnership with the Rogers County Commissioners. The stars are lining up for this think to happen,” Thomas said.

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