With just a few hurdles left to jump, Gila County officials are preparing for the expansion of the Buckhead Mesa landfill north of Payson.
"All of the designs have been completed, and we've gone out to bid," said John Trujillo, director of the county's engineering department. One of the holdups remaining is acquiring approval from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.
"We have not awarded the bids yet, because ADEQ has not allowed us to go on with the expansion until we have our financial assurances taken care of," Trujillo said.
The financial assurance, he said, is the promise to the state that Gila County will be able to close the landfill when the time comes to move to a new location.
"We have to provide some money up front and put it aside to make sure we have it available, when the time comes," Trujillo said.
Only three bids were received for the expansion project -- one from Intermountain West of Payson, and two from Valley competitors. The expansion project will add about 2 acres to the current 51-acre site. The addition will allow the landfill to last for another decade.
Trujillo said he expects the county to approve the letter of credit for financial assurance next week, and will award the bid within a month.
"Hopefully, within six weeks, we'll start construction," he said.