The board of supervisors agreed to pay a private consultant $275,000 to help negotiate a final deal on their behalf with the private operators of the county’s expanded and technologically enhanced trash operation at the Tajiguas Landfill.

Gaviota Coast activists objected there are cheaper, lower-impact, and more reliable alternatives to the technology under consideration. They also argued it made no sense to pay private developers with no landfill experience to manage a facility — which will cost an estimated $140 million to build — that’s already publically owned and will have to be publically financed. These same activists, however, have opposed any effort to prolong the life of the landfill, so their arguments found little traction with the supervisors.

Efforts to lengthen the lifespan of the landfill date back nearly 20 years. There have been many unhappy surprises along the way, most recently when the private developers announced two years ago they couldn’t provide project financing as had been planned. (The public entities that rely on the landfill have agreed to shoulder that burden.) Even so, county trash czars insisted the new project, warts and all, will give Tajiguas an additional 20 years of operational life and divert 125,000 of the 190,000 tons of trash dumped there each year, all for an additional $5 a month for the average trash ratepayer.


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