By Sam Kaufman
The county began the fiscal year on a high note concerning its quarterly check received from a five percent surcharge on Waste Control Specialists’ gross receipts from its lowlevel Compact Landfill.
WCS’ first quarter check—received by the county at the end of December—was for nearly $431,000.
Historically speaking, the county has now received over $12.6 million from WCS through payments dating back around 10 years.
The fourth quarter check of $265,272 pushed historical payments to the county past the $12 million milestone, according to WCS Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Communications Elicia Sanchez.
“We love seeing all of the wonderful ways that Andrews benefits from the receipt of the money, Sanchez said.
The county could be on the way to another solid year concerning WCS funding.
If it averages the first quarter amount of $431,000, the annual total would amount to over $1.7 million.
In total, Andrews County received around $1.47 million from WCS last fiscal year. That’s the highest annual amount in around three years—when the WCS surcharge generated $1.5 million for its second best total.
But that figure pales in comparison to the record year of $3.2 million from 2014-2015, according to county records.
WCS’ Compact Landfill, from which the five percent surcharge is generated, takes low-level radioactive waste from within the Texas/Vermont Compact area and from 33 states outside the Compact. Noncompact customers must go through the Texas Low-Level Compact Committee for approval.
The company’s low-level waste disposal facility also consists of the larger federal landfill as well.
The majority of the WCS funds received by the county—90 percent—go into the Legacy Fund for projects related to “public good,” while the other 10 percent is dedicated to the county’s Fund 39, according to county officials.
The Community Legacy Committee, which began functioning in 2017, accepts project applications for possible WCS funding, before vetting the requests and potentially recommending them for commissioners court approval.
Projects involving local governing entities and non-profit organizations can be accepted for WCS money, according to county officials.
There have been some major projects recently approved by the commissioners court for WCS funds.
Earlier this year, commissioners approved around $2 million for the Legacy Park project that includes demolishing the former jail facility by the chamber office and erecting a park to honor first responders.
Additionally, a historical museum will be added at the Means ranch home building, along with additions and improvements at Andrews County Veterans Memorial and chamber areas.
Other significant projects this year include over $1.5 million to restore the youth baseball fields at Lakeside Park, along with adding restrooms and a concession area and improvements to the Sports Complex fields.
Also, around $1 million will be used for construction of a new Andrews Food Pantry and parking area in southwest Andrews across from Underwood Elementary School, $100,000 for paving the Life Center parking lot in northeast Andrews and funds for a video screen at the Christmas Lights show area next to the Andrews Business & Tech Center.
In the past, WCS funds have gone toward the city’s splash park and Kids Kingdom, purchasing ambulances and school buses, and a community building at a southwest Andrews park, to name some.