Study says landfill has 10 years remaining life


Just when almost everyone had declared our landfill as dead, City Administrator Fran Malafronte on Tuesday announced to council members that a new feasibility study gave the current site at least 10 years, with modifications.

“It’s beyond great news,” she said. “The permit process to re-open the landfill would cost around $90,000 for a 10-year period, per Texas Commission on Environmental Quality standards.”


Ms. Malafronte added that after 10 years, the landfill would have to close; however, even a new site application would cost about $225,000, which is well below what she had anticipated.

“For the next 40 years, we can pretty much secure how we deal with our garbage,” she said. “The $90,000 figure may sound like a lot of money, but it really isn’t.”

She explained that the Town of Van Horn currently spends between $12,000 and $15,000 per month to dispose of garbage at the Sierra Blanca landfill, and that doesn’t take into consideration the cost of diesel fuel and the wear and tear on the garbage truck. According to her figures, re-opening the landfill would cost the city $9,000 per year as opposed to the $180,000 amount the city now pays for disposal fees with Sierra Blanca.

An engineering group will be present at the next council meeting to explain the landfill options in greater detail.

Ms. Malafronte also briefed council members on the current state of affairs with the Mercado building that has had more than its share of construction hold-ups and problems. She said that the city had officially terminated the contract with the contractor for breach of contract, with $7,500 remaining to be paid. Out of that $7,500, an electrical contractor and a garage door contractor have been hired.

Another contractor has inspected the concrete floor, and it appears that the concrete was not laid to the proper pounds per square inch (PSI). According to concrete experts, concrete comes in a variety of strengths ranging from light load capacity for residential and decorative purposes to heavy-duty load capacity, for commercial and industrial uses. This particular type of concrete, called Type III, High-strength, high performance, should have a PSI rating of no less than 6,000.

Ms. Malafronte said that all of the remaining work on the Mercado should be completed by Oct. 1.

In other action, council members heard from Rodney Tilley during the public comments portion of the meeting. He asked the council why the public was not allowed to comment at all council meetings. He was referring to the second council meeting of the month that does not allow public comment.

Ms. Malafronte responded that because the second meeting generally has more agenda items, that public comment is reserved for the first meeting of the month.

Mr. Tilley also wanted to know whether any action had been taken by the city to address a concern of his regarding billboards for the hotels and motels. He said that having billboards announcing the number of hotels and businesses in town would mean “an economic boost” for everybody. Finally, Mr. Tilley said that he would like to offer a proclamation from the city for a day of prayer for the new school year.

Council took the following action:
•Tabled an item to approve a quote for new/repaired garage doors for the utility building and the gas department building
•Approved a measure that gives the city administrator the authority to apply for a $124,000 Rio Grande Council of Governments grant for a glass recycling plant
•Approved an item that will allow for the purchase of a new air conditioner at the City-County Library, pending a response from the county judge. The total cost of the project is $6,223.76.
•Approved the delinquent tax roll for 2013 as requested by the Culberson County Appraisal District in the amount of  $41,519.65.


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