Long Term Strategic Planning (Kent County, Michigan)

Operational Efficiency Study and Future Strategic Planning

GBB was selected to conduct an efficiency review of the County’s organization, operations, landfills and disposal/Waste-to-Energy facilities. The organizational review included the study and evaluation of the County’s organizational structure, alignment, functions, as well as training programs that are made available to management and staff.

The reviews of facilities, whether operated by the County or by service providers, provided the County with an understanding of the various functions and roles performed at their assets, its relationship to the overall organization and helped to identify ways to maximize efficiency. The review included the operational functions and work flow processes at the operating landfill; evaluation of operating costs, staffing levels, airspace waste placement and optimal waste placement for preserving available airspace. GBB evaluated the MRF’s operational efficiency and analyzed data relating to residues and material recovery. The ability of the MRF to take more materials was evaluated as one of the County’s objectives is to increase diversion for recycling. At the WTE Facility, GBB reviewed how the operator performs, and benchmarked performance indicators versus industry practices at other WTE Facilities. GBB also reviewed the service agreement and the facility’s operations and performance reports to assure that it is being operated in compliance with the existing agreement and permits. Potential modifications to operations and/or waste flow were recommended to improve the system efficiency and potentially improve the County’s revenues and reduce costs.

The financial review looked at both revenue/expense sources and capital improvement programming/plans. Additionally, GBB did a full-cost accounting review of the organization.

Wage Rate Study

The Kent County Integrated Solid Waste Management System is manned by a variety of staff positions throughout the network of facilities and services.  GBB conducted a Wage Rate Study for 16 positions in the solid waste department’s organization, operations, landfills and disposal/WTE facilities. The Wage Rate Study helped assist the County’s Human Resources Department compare the department’s wage structure against similar positions in the industry to use the information to hire top-tier candidates and retain quality employees.

GBB surveyed comparable departments of Michigan municipalities and worked with solid waste industry recruiters to assist with data collection both on local and national level.

Zero Waste to Landfill Business Assistance

GBB worked with the County to advance discussions with companies that are interested to contract for disposal or processing, and to ensure that the County’s facilities can provide Zero Waste-to-Landfill certification for these customers.

As part of the assignment, GBB collected data on commercial waste generation to quantify commercial and industrial wastes, as well as materials diverted for commercial recycling. GBB also described the waste supply from these customers and evaluated disposal and processing possibilities through the County’s existing infrastructure. Additional supply potential was estimated, and strategies for gaining those additional supplies we developed. Ultimately, this information will be used to size and configure a waste-to-energy system (or systems, depending on locations and amounts) change.