History of the Solid Waste Agency

The Josephine County / City of Grants Pass Solid Waste Agency is a cooperative agreement between the City of Grants Pass (City) and County created in 2001.

The history of the creation of the district and the purpose of this action is tied to renegotiation of franchises with both regional solid waste franchise providers in 2000.

The City and County worked cooperatively through the franchise renewals. The agreements with the franchisees are nearly identical for Josephine County, the City of Grants Pass as well as the City of Cave Junction, which joined the Agency in August of 2005.

A number of franchise provisions call for the City of Grants Pass, the City of Cave Junction, and the County to act together, including the requirements for audit, mutual rate setting systems, recycling and re-use provisions, and the requirement for the franchise holders to pay an environmental program fee, equivalent to $5 per ton disposed, for the solution to ongoing solid waste issues.

The distribution of environmental program fees, the mutual rate setting requirements, and the mutual dependency between the City and County lead to a series of discussions between representatives of the County and the City about the formation of a single point of contact for all solid waste issues. Early discussions focused on some sort of cooperative agreement. As the discussions matured into drafting of agreements, the concept of developing a solid waste agency, with delegated authority from City and County emerged.

There are a number of potential combinations for ways to create such an approach. Utilizing the legal counsels from City and County, the Mayor, County Commission Chair, and the technical staff of County Engineer, Public Works Director, Landfill Engineer and the City Manager, the City and County created intergovernmental agreement.

What the Agreement Does

The agreement created a new agency. This is similar in character to the creation of the 9-1-1 Agency, literally a new governmental entity. In this case, the entity created has a limited grant of authority best identified in the Preamble to the Agreement, as follows:

  • It is the intent of this agreement to create a solid waste management agency. The agency would exercise delegated powers of the local governments in administration of the ongoing franchise agreements in the City and County and in Cave Junction. The Agency described in this agreement will allocate resources from the environmental program fee collected in the franchises, provide franchise oversight and regulation, and conduct audits on behalf of both local governments. This agreement defines the authority, and prohibits any projects or undertakings not sponsored and conducted by the City of Grants Pass, County or Cave Junction.
  • The agency is a 7-member board, three each from the City of Grants Pass and County and one from Cave Junction. The board is responsible for the ongoing oversight of the franchise agreements, rate setting and rate changes, and the collection and allocation of the environmental program fee. Any allocation of the environmental program fee proceeds must be made when all seven board members are present.
  • The agency is a limited agency. The agency may not alter or access the franchise payments made to either local government; they may not directly employee individuals; and they have no ability to access any dedicated funds from either the city or the county. The method of management will be to enter into an agreement with one of the 2 governments, either City or County, to function as the managing jurisdiction

The Managing Agency

The City of Grants Pass was selected in October of 2001 to function as the managing jurisdiction for the agency. The proposal provides for the city to complete a specified scope of services on behalf of the agency. The services include legal compliance for the board, budget and finance functions and clerical support. The managing agency must be reselected and approved by the Board every other fiscal year.