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SWACO’s 2018 total operating budget is $51 million and supports continued safety and enhancements at the County landfill as well as more robust recycling and composting programs for residents and businesses.
SWACO continues to hold Triple A bond ratings from both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s. As SWACO increases education and outreach to reduce the community’s reliance on landfilling, diversifying revenue sources is an important step towards more fully maximizing the organizations assets and maintaining its financial strength and health.
The 2018 budget relies less on tipping fee revenues which were lowered by $3 per ton in April 2017. In 2018, 12% of SWACO’s revenue will come from a public-private partnership with Aria Energy for the sale of the landfill gas which is cleaned and put back into a production use as renewable natural gas.
Landfill waste receipts are anticipated to increase as the County’s population continues to grow. As such, SWACO is projecting an increase of $587,000 in tipping fee revenue which will account for 88% of SWACO’s revenue for the 2018 budget.
Direct operating expenses for the year are budgeted at $27.3 million, a moderate increase of 1.7% over 2017’s budget. Personnel costs reflect a 1.6% increase in salaries, wages and benefits over last year with employee health care benefits increasing 4.4%. Other expenses include debt payment services and a 5-year Capital Improvement Plan which is updated and approved each April.
In 2018, SWACO plans to make key investments to ensure the environmental health and safety of residents, families and businesses in the District.
Protecting Franklin County’s Environmental Health
Last year, 2.1 million tons of waste was generated in Franklin County and just under half – 958,000 lbs. or 46.5% was either recycled or composted yet Franklin County still sent over a million tons of material to the landfill.
To help Franklin County reach a new diversion rate of at least 50% by the end of 2020, this year, SWACO will launch a new districtwide educational initiative called Recycle Right, Make a Difference which provides Franklin County with accurate and easy-to-understand recycling information on an on-going basis.
SWACO will also invest in programs to help residents and businesses compost more of their food waste, which currently makes up 13% of the local waste stream.
A suite of programs will also be developed for local businesses and the commercial sector – the largest waste generating sector – to divert more cardboard, paper and plastics from the landfill.
Keeping Safe Disposal at Priority
Since 2013, SWACO drivers have hauled increasing amounts of waste without additional drivers which has resulted in escalating overtime costs. In 2018, three additional transfer drivers will be utilized - taking the full-time equivalent to 21.5 drivers for an anticipated annual savings of approximately $200,000 in estimated overtime costs. Additional drivers will also help to avoid the potential for future safety concerns.
SWACO will also invest nearly $3 million in capital equipment. These investments are consistent with the planned vehicle refresh efforts and support operations at the landfill, transfer stations and the drop-off recycling program and will lead to greater operational efficiencies.
The 2018 budget is available for complete review here.