Outstanding Elected Official – Local: Policy Advisory Committee to the Regional Wasteshed Coalition

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In 2024, the Larimer County Landfill is expected to reach capacity. In recognition of this fact, Loveland, Larimer County, Fort Collins and Estes Park started working together in 2015 to determine what will come next, forming the North Front Range Regional Wasteshed Coalition.

In 2016, elected officials from each of the jurisdictions involved began working together as the Policy Advisory Committee to the Regional Wasteshed Coalition. Steve Johnson, Larimer County Commissioner, Leah Johnson, Loveland City Councilmember, Frank Zorn, Estes Park Councilmember, Wade Troxell, Fort Collins Mayor, and Ross Cunniff, Fort Collins City Councilmember, have worked diligently together since then.

In a time when the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment recommends that regional jurisdictions work together to develop solutions, the Policy Advisory Committee has done just that. Recognizing that infrastructure must meet the needs of an entire region, and is dependent on materials generated throughout that region, these elected officials worked through the details of generating a Solid Waste Infrastructure Master Plan, which was adopted by Larimer County Commissioners in December 2018. While division is easy to find among jurisdictions, these elected officials worked through difficult conversations such as which infrastructure and policies made sense for the region, and whether building another public landfill or initiating a long-term contract with a private landfill would best meet the needs of their constituents.

Once the Master Plan was adopted by Larimer County, each of the jurisdictions worked through the complicated process of developing an intergovernmental agreement (IGA), which outlines how the communities will work together into the future. The elected officials kept each of their colleagues in their jurisdictions informed throughout the project, then worked with each of their communities to adopt the IGA. Each is now working to develop the policies unique to their communities to further implement the project.

The Regional Wasteshed Project has the potential to recycle or compost more than 40% of what is currently accepted at the Larimer County Landfill, while also providing responsible disposal options for the long term.       The Policy Advisory Committee is a model of cooperation and visionary work for the rest of Colorado and the region.

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