Inyo Supervisors face landfill decision today

By Deb Murphy
Inyo County’s Board of Supervisors really don’t have much of a choice today as they vote on a new three-year landfill lease agreement with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
The first two years, the rate stays at $4,900; in the final year it jumps to $22,637. But, the County needs a new permit increasing the daily weight restrictions or face $10,000 a day fines for exceeding the current limit. LADWP won’t sign off on the new permit until a lease is signed. Complying with the current permit would result in landfill closures each day the weight allowance is reached.
The department’s Aqueduct Manager Jim Yannotta provided the rationale behind the increase in an e-mail statement: “The new lease rate for Inyo County’s Bishop Sunland landfill has been established to reflect appropriate costs for leasing and activity on this type of facility in 2017. From 1990 to today the lease rate has been essentially unchanged. In 26 years the lease rate only went up one time ($140 per year)…. Part of the new rate accounts for tipping fees charged by the County. The tipping fee value used by LADWP in the new lease rate calculation is a very conservative amount, in fact it is lower than the County’s new tipping fees. The new rent also includes compensation for water used by the landfill provided by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.”
An effort to determine what other counties pay for leased land under their landfills is nearly impossible. According to Inyo’s Assistant Administrator Rick Benson, most county landfills are operated on county-owned lands.
Inyo’s Sunland landfill isn’t exactly a cash cow. According to Benson during the last months’ presentations on tipping fee adjustments (from $90 per trash hauler to $50 a ton, or $500 for a full load), the landfill loses $900,000 a year. The adjusted fees, scheduled to go into effect March 1, will bring in an additional $635,000, cutting the operations’ losses to $265,000.
13 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Allen Berrey
Allen Berrey
5 years ago

@russoloco – Three points: First, for the record, the “Eminent Domain Law” of California is set forth in Title 7 of the California Code of Civil Procedure; and Article 7 of Chapter 3 of that Title 7 – entitled “Condemnation for a More Necessary Public Use – expressly and specifically… Read more »

Randy Keller
Randy Keller
5 years ago
Reply to  Allen Berrey

But Allen, let’s not forget that Inyo County would have to pay Los Angeles for the land at fair market value. Might that be a reason the County has not pursued condemnation.

Allen Berrey
Allen Berrey
5 years ago
Reply to  Randy Keller

Thanks Randy. First, no one from the County has responded to my suggestion; so I cannot assume or speculate that the County has even considered this idea, let alone why it hasn’t pursued it. Did the County consider condemning the dump on your watch? Second, I don’t think the cost… Read more »

russoloco
russoloco
5 years ago

I take my previous assertions back. It had been my understanding that public lands could not be taken by eminent domain by another public entity. Of course, if Inyo were do claim eminent domain it seems they would have the burden of proving that their public use was more beneficial… Read more »

russoloco
russoloco
5 years ago

Eminent domain applies only to PRIVATE property. “California eminent domain laws can be found in Title 7 of Code of Civil Procedure. Eminent domain is the power of local, state or federal government agencies to take private property for public use so long as the government pays just compensation. Pursuant… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
5 years ago

From Section XV of the Inyo/ Los Angeles Long Term Water Agreement XV. RELEASE OF CITY OWNED LANDS A. INYO COUNTY Inyo County, in order to provide for the future orderly development of towns within the County, has requested Los Angeles to offer for sale seventy-five (75) acres of Los… Read more »

russoloco
russoloco
5 years ago

Eminent domain can’t be used to take land from one government agency to another.

Allen Berrey
Allen Berrey
5 years ago
Reply to  russoloco

@russoloco – I cited authority for my proposition; please cite yours. In doing so, please consider this language in CCP section 1240.650(b) and explain why the legislature would feel the need to enact that section if your proposition was correct: “(b) Where property has been appropriated to public use by… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
5 years ago
Reply to  Allen Berrey

Reasonable approaches to Inyo County and the City of Los Angeles relations do not yield reasonable results for the Eastern Sierra. At every turn the City has a stranglehold on the Eastern Sierra. It is time to pursue an on going and active legal approach to every issue including this… Read more »

sugarmags
sugarmags
5 years ago
Reply to  russoloco

You are 100% mistaken russo. Eminent domain can be used against govt agencies (not the federal govt though), and is used more often than people realize. Given that LADWP owns so much land in our area, using eminent domain to acquire land for public uses is a reasonable action that… Read more »

Allen Berrey
Allen Berrey
5 years ago

Actually a practical solution exists: Inyo County could acquire the underlying land from LADWP – and be free of LADWP’s rent and restrictions on the landfill – by exercising its power of eminent domain under Code of Civil Procedure Section 1240.610 et seq. That law allows one public entity to… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
5 years ago
Reply to  Allen Berrey

That sounds like a great idea. I’m all for pissing off DWP. They earned it. But do you think our Supervisors have the guts?

Trouble
Trouble
5 years ago

We have a choice. Tell DWP no. They don’t own all the cheap land in Inyo County. Give them their poisoned field back and find a new site. It’s time to send DWP a message.