The long-awaited contract between San Juan County and Lautenbach Industries for operation of the San Juan Island solid waste transfer station is approaching completion, according to San Juan County Public Works Director Frank Mulcahy.
"We expect to complete a contract with Lautenbach in July or early August," said Mulcahy, who first had to negotiate a lease agreement with the Town of Friday Harbor, owner of the Sutton Road site.
"We've had unprecedented cooperation from Duncan Wilson and the Town of Friday Harbor on the lease agreement," Mulcahy said.
He noted that the town insisted that any county contract or sublease with Lautenbach must include building a roof over the tipping floor and compliance with Department of Ecology stormwater drainage requirements.
Mulcahy said he intends to present a draft contract for County Council approval later this month, with a target date of September 1 for Lautenbach to take over operations at the Sutton Road transfer station.
The picture for the Orcas Island transfer station operations is not so clear, Mulcahy acknowledged.
Some problems, such as an employment tax liability of Orcas Recycling Services, appear to have been resolved. But other problems, including insurance, security, operating capital and a performance bond, remain sticking points, he said.
Disposal of solid waste and operations at the San Juan and Orcas transfer stations have been a persistent issue for Mulcahy and the county council since voters rejected a council-proposed property tax increase in November 2011. Mulcahy joined Public Works as director of the county's single-largest department two months before.
Two weeks ago, Mulcahy believed an agreement with ORS for operations of the Orcas transfer station might be ready by mid-July. But such an agreement remains elusive.
"I'm going to present the situation to the council on June 18, but there are a number of problems that must be worked through before a contract can be negotiated," Mulcahy said.