Ada County wants stimulus money for garbage-to-fuel project


Ada County plans to apply to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality for federal stimulus package funds, Commissioner Fred Tilman said at a town hall meeting last night.

Ada County wants the funds to expand its landfill, and Tilman said the landfill is a perfect candidate for funds earmarked for renewable energy projects. The landfill has a project under way to produce fuel from the methane gas given off by garbage.

"We have one of the best alternative fuel projects in the whole Pacific Northwest, in my opinion," Tilman said.

Ada County applied for stimulus money from Gov. Otter as soon as Idaho received its funding, Tilman said. "We didn't make the short list," he said. "We didn't even make the list."

But Ada County still has opportunities to apply again. Most of Idaho's aid was sent to state agencies like the Idaho Transportation Department and DEQ, and those agencies will disburse funds to projects around the state.

"Every dollar we can get that way is less money we have to get from you, the taxpayer," Tilman said.

Commissioner Sharon Ullman said Otter's focus on rural Idaho might prevent Ada County from getting funding, however. "I had privilege of hearing the governor speak a week ago," she said. "He was going to focus on rural Idaho. We have some rural areas of Ada County, but we can't submit that and claim we are rural."

The town hall meeting, at Meridian City Hall, was the first in a new effort by commissioners to take their show on the road. Other topics discussed included open space, property taxes, liquor laws, and election consolidation. Not quite two dozen people attended the event.