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Teton County must decide how to pay for new landfill cap

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Voters in Teton County will decide next month whether an existing excise tax should cover the capping and remediation of the old Horsethief Canyon Landfill, among other waste management improvements.

The landfill has been closed for 23 years, but groundwater contamination has been discovered at the site and the Department of Environmental quality requires that the county re-cap the landfill and mitigate further contamination.

Heather Overholser oversees the county’s Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling Division. She says there’s no way around that project; the vote will just determine whether the excise tax will pay for it.

“If this initiative is not approved by voters, they’re going to have to find, obviously, another funding mechanism for this, and property taxes is one thing that has been, um, thrown out there as a possibility.”

Overholser says county commissioners have not said whether or how much taxes might be affected.

If the ballot initiative is approved, the $14.5 million dollars allocated would also go to improve the city’s waste diversion programs.