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Case Studies

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Monterey Regional Waste Management District

Strategic Plan for Financing, Facilities, and Programs (2010)

Project Background

HF&H was retained by the Monterey Regional Waste Management District (MRWMD or District) to assist in developing a plan to ensure the District’s continued financial stability in a high diversion reality. The recent economic downturn reduced the amount of goods people were buying. As a result, residents and businesses were disposing of less waste at the District’s landfill, thereby reducing tonnage revenue. This placed the District in a difficult financial position because of the high fixed cost of landfill operations as well as the use of disposal fees to finance non-disposal activities. Additionally, the District became aware that the landfill’s financial model was inconsistent with its status as a recycling and sustainability leader. Given that both regulatory and social commitments were moving toward greater diversion and less disposal, the District needed a plan for the facility’s short-term financial health and long-term financial sustainability.

Project Results

HF&H worked with the District’s management team, Board of Directors, and member agencies to develop consensus for the short- and long-term actions needed to create a state-of-the-art waste management system that was funded through a sustainable business model. This action plan identified the following five high priority actions to be taken by the District in cooperation with its member agencies:

  1. Develop a program/facility plan that identifies and meets the future needs of the community to address increasing regulatory and social demands (e.g. commercial and multi-family recycling, C&D recycling and reuse, conversion of organic materials to energy, and proper handling of special wastes) while leveraging the existing public and private infrastructure in the region. This program and facility plan will include methods for financing the development and/or expansion of facilities.
  2. Develop a model franchise agreement for use by the member agencies that clearly defines the future service needs, reinforces material flow commitments identified in the program/facility plan, establishes state-of-the-art contractual terms, and ensures cost-effective contract management and public education and outreach activities.
  3. Develop an amended (or new) schedule of fees that correlates the charges for services with those customers who benefit from them.
  4. Develop a plan to benefit from external funding opportunities which may include legislative advocacy (e.g. federal or state extended producer responsibility, local take-back ordinances, etc.) as well as marketing the District’s services to other communities in the region
  5. Continue the development of the District facilities as the site of a green energy park that converts landfill gas and organic waste into renewable energy to meet regional needs. In the longer term, this may include development of solar and wind energy generation opportunities or the establishment of a green fueling station (i.e. CNG).