The Montmorency-Oscoda-Alpena Solid Waste Authority received a draft of its 2010 audit report. The financial report is near completion, but two important figures still need to be adjusted due to mistakes in estimates for cell capacity by the landfill's former engineering firm.
Auditor Thomas Zick told the commissioners the report will be complete in July, but some of the figures presented during the meeting on Friday were not final, and previous reports will have to be changed because information about the cell's capacity was misleading.
"There are two numbers that aren't finalized, and they are probably the ones from the two largest expenses the landfill has but don't have anything to do with its depreciation and closure, post closure costs," Zick said. "The depreciation for a cell is based on its usage and all based on engineer estimates. You know the engineer's estimates have been questionable for the last several years. The estimates from the new engineer are so grossly different from last year's numbers that we need to go back and adjust prior years. In other words, we had written off some cells faster than we should have."
The closure cost is money in a special fund and controlled by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. There should be enough money in the fund to pay for landfill closing costs, monitoring and testing for 30 years from the day it closes.
"The engineers usually make these estimates up based on the number of cells open, number of cells being used, and number of cells closed," Zick said. "We don't have those numbers yet, so the post-closure cost is not set. We have problems with some of the numbers, and it affects the liability. Every other number in the report is a good number and a final number, but those two are not complete."
Zick said the landfill did well in terms of operations and finance in 2010, even though it needed to make some quick financial moves when the commissioners acted on GZA's advice and built a cell, that proved later wasn't needed.
"This was an excellent year, and even when we make these other numbers it's still going to be an excellent year," Zick said.
In other business, the commissioners are considering changing the tracks on the CAT dozer at the dump. The cost of the tracks would be $29,000. The board instructed Administrator Sandy Cunningham to get quotes to see how much a new bulldozer would be.