Construction of SH materials recovery-transfer station could start by next spring

By Nick Diamantides
Staff Writer

Construction of EDCO’s materials recovery-and-transfer station in Signal Hill could begin by spring of 2010. On Tuesday night, the Signal Hill City Council approved the last in a series of agreements between the city and Buena Park-based EDCO, giving the company the entitlements it needs to start work on the project.
EDCO, which also uses the name Signal Hill Disposal, has been the city’s waste hauler since 1986. The company plans to build the facility on a 3.75-acre site near the intersection of California Avenue and Patterson Street.
“We have been working with EDCO for three years on this,” said Deputy City Manager Charlie Honeycutt. He explained that, in negotiations with the city, EDCO officials have agreed to regulations pertaining to how the facility will operate, its hours of operations, the routes trucks must follow to and from the facility, litter cleanup, and a list of other regulations designed to minimize the facility’s impact on the community.
On Tuesday, the city council approved an ordinance granting a 15-year exclusive franchise to EDCO Transport Services, LLC to operate the plant. The materials recovery-and-transfer station will help the region comply with a state law requiring municipalities to divert 75 percent of their trash to recycling facilities. Cities throughout the region will use the EDCO plant to accomplish that goal. Signal Hill will get a portion of the fee charged for every load brought to the facility.
“This is a win-win for Signal Hill and for EDCO,” said Councilman Mike Noll.
City Attorney Dave Aleshire noted that in about two weeks city and EDCO officials will sign all the agreements approved by the city council. He added that it will take about two months to remove oil wells from the site and about two months after that to grade the land. Construction of the facility could begin soon thereafter.
In another action, the council approved a three-year contract with Willdan Engineering for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) services. CDBG is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program that provides grant money for certain types of city projects. Kathy Sorensen, director of community development, has been managing the city’s CDBG projects for several years, but she is planning to retire soon. City Manager Ken Farfsing told the council that the city will need Willdan’s services after Sorensen has retired.
Toward the end of the meeting, the council and staff also discussed Farfsing’s annual performance review. “The city council is in complete agreement that the city manager is doing a tremendous job,” Honeycutt said. He noted that Farfsing successfully navigated the city through a series of challenges during the last 12 months– the biggest of those was managing a city budget with significant revenue reductions. Honeycutt noted that Farfsing’s contract called for a five-percent salary increase this year, but Farfsing declined taking it because of the city’s budget crunch.
After Honeycutt’s brief presentation, the council members took turns praising Farfsing for his leadership abilities. Farfsing stressed that it was a team effort, and he gave credit to the department heads for finding ways to reduce the budgets of their respective departments while still providing needed services to the community.
The next meeting of the city council is scheduled for 7pm on Tuesday, Nov. 17 in the council chambers of Signal Hill City Hall.

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