The Board of Ada County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday morning to approve an agreement that, cancels the waste-to-energy project releasing Dynamis from the $2 million obligation to Ada County and also releases Ada County from all potential claims from Dynamis of up to $70 million, Commissioner Chairman Dave Case said.
Even though Dynamis did not secure permits or start construction on the garbage gasifier at the county landfill, Dynamis told the county it had already invested $10 million in the project and stood to gain millions in future revenue when the facility went online, according to Case.
We had a lot to consider in making this decision and chose the best possible solution to protect the county and taxpayers from liability, Case said.
About 25 people attended the public meeting. Seven people spoke before the commission. All spoke in support of terminating the project.
Commissioners Fred Tilman, Sharon Ullman and Rick Yzaguirre approved the Dynamis contract in June 2010 and paid Dynamis $2 million to design a waste-to-energy facility at the county-owned landfill. Dynamis was to repay the county within six months by purchasing back the design plan to build the plant, estimated to cost $60 million to $70 million. Dynamis would own and operate the plant on ground leased from the county.
The plant would super-heat up to 408 tons of trash daily, creating a gas that would be burned to generate 22 megawatts of electricity. The county did not hold a hearing because it said state law did not require it.
Invoices Dynamis submitted to the county for design-related costs were for consultants, high-end computers, a $150,000 deposit on equipment needed to run the plant and up to $350 an hour for Dynamis' engineering staff. The county also paid Dynamis a 10 percent markup on all its costs. Citizen complaints prompted Ada County Prosecutor Greg Bower to call for a special investigation, which was conducted by the Bannock County prosecutor. The investigation found no criminal wrongdoing.
In mid-November, the county sent Dynamis a letter demanding repayment of the $2 million within 90 days. Once the 90 days passed without payment the county was able to move forward with terminating the agreements.