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Cernosin municipal association

From Municipal Cooperation

Cernosin municipal association
Service Areas: Solid Waste Management
Country: Czech Republic
Municipalities: Bezdružice, Bor, Brod nad Tichou, Broumov, Cebiv, Ctiboř, Částkov, Černošín, Halže, Horní Kozolupy, Hošťka, Chodová Planá, Chodský Újezd, Kladruby, Kokašice, Kočov, Konstantinovy Lázně, Lestkov, Olbramov, Ošelín, Planá, Rozvadov, Staré Sedliště, Stráž, Studánka, Svojšín, Tachov, Tisová, Úterý, Zadní Chodov, Záchlumí
Contact persons: Pavel Filipčík
Legal form: Public law association
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Coordinates: 50° 36' 53" N, 13° 49' 35" E

Description of the problem/need for IMC

Until the early 1990s, the communal waste in the area was disposed of at a number of small, partly illegal, landfills. The plans to build a bigger, modern landfill in Černošín date back to the 1980s, when suitable plots were identified. In 1991, the neighbouring municipalities started to take steps to build the landfill; in 1993, they created a Voluntary Municipal Association; and in 1994, they founded a limited company. The landfill started to operate in 1995. Today, the limited company provides complex waste management services for more than 25,000 inhabitants.

Description of the IMC practice

The IMC assumes two forms: a Voluntary Municipal Association and a limited company, EKODEPON s.r.o. The Association is the sole owner of the company. The company provides complex services in waste management, including the above-mentioned areas. Recently, it has built a training centre and curriculum that should increase knowledge about waste management and generally promote environmental education.

The Voluntary Municipal Association is established based on the law of municipalities and is subject to the budgetary rules of local governments. The Association has the following bodies:

  • the President (elected by the Assembly, currently the Mayor of Černošín but who could also be a representative of another municipality)
  • the Assembly, which is formed by representatives of all municipalities; each municipality has one vote (i.e. the same weight for all municipalities irrespective of size); the Assembly meets twice a year, or more often if necessary;
  • the Commission (six members);
  • the Control committee (five members)
  • the Executive – a part-time employee who takes care of all kinds of tasks, including accounting.

Decision-making on main investments, property and budget undergoes these steps: (i) collection of information and preparation of a report, either by Ekodepon Management or the Executive Officer of the Association; (ii) the Commission discusses the report and makes recommendations; and then (iii) all the Municipal Councils must discuss them and a decision is taken by the Assembly. The Representative of the Municipality in the Assembly therefore represents the entire Municipal Council and its decision. The key decisions are taken by the Association and then implemented by the limited company.

The limited company acts according to the Commercial Code; it provides information through the Registry Court and has a dedicated website (http://ekodepon.cz/index.php). This company has 20–25 employees; the waste sorter department has about ten.

The original aim of the Association was to create a landfill, for which they needed to accumulate substantive capital. The initial membership deposit was CZK650 per person: Černošín Municipality provided in-kind contribution in the form of land. Since the deposit was relatively large, a certain number of municipalities had to borrow to pay for it. All the profit of the company is reinvested in the continual enlarging of the landfill and in carrying out activities.

Since the landfill capacity is sufficient for another 20–25 years, the cooperation is sustainable; however, there are several current or potential problems or dangers, as mentioned in section 4.

Ekodepon s.r.o. submits quarterly reports to the Association.

Establishment of the IMC practice

Pavel Filipčík became the Executive of the Association only recently, in 2006, so his knowledge of the first ten years of the cooperation is based on documents, conversations with the previous Executive and general knowledge of Černošín. Mr Filipčík provided a few articles and reports where the history is clearly described.

The current cooperation dates back to 1991, at a time when four municipalities began thinking about creating a landfill in Černošín, by implementing plans from mid-1980s. In 1992, the district town of Tachov joined these discussions and suggested that the municipalities should not only be customers of the landfill, but should also participate as co-investors and co-owners, which would provide them with some decision-making authority over the landfill. In 1993, the Association was established by 15 municipalities. In 1993 and 1994, another 13 municipalities joined; in 2000, the next two; and in 2006, the final one joined.

Since 1992, they have been cooperating with the specialized company A.S.A. (an Austrian company, but with a daughter company in Prague). The negotiations on the establishment of a joint company were not easy, but finally, in 1994, they established a joint company, A.S.A. Černošín s.r.o., where the Association contributed 66 percent and A.S.A: International Holding, 34 percent. The Association granted to the company a credit of CZK18 million, which has been repaid.

This partnership was very important at that time because the Austrian Landfill Regulation was applied, thus complying with all the EU Regulations. From 1994 to 1996, A.S.A. Prague administered A.S.A. Černošín but there were serious doubts concerning its economic soundness and efficiency. In 1996, a new Executive was nominated. In 1998, A.S.A. then transferred its share to the Municipal Association. In 1998, the name of the company became Ekodepon. The solution of this inconvenient situation shows that the Association was able to monitor the performance of the company and take action to protect the interests of its members.

In 2000, Ekodepon began to process the waste, which had not been possible during the time of A.S.A, since the former was a direct competitor of A.S.A. in this sector. In 2003, it started to build waste pick-up points and now there are 13. In 2007, Ekodepon founded a joint company EKO–I recykling s.r.o. (Ecodepon owns 51 percent), which has built the waste sorter and the training centre. The build-up of the landfill still continues.

Main success factors:

  • Enthusiasm of some of the municipalities; sustained interest of about 7-10 Council Members
  • Interest in local landfills with a long lifespan
  • Need to solve the waste management
  • Continuous growth of the activities.

Benefits and shortcoming of the IMC practice

Benefits

The IMC began completely new activities, so there is no basis for comparison.

The participating municipalities benefit from ensured long-term waste management, including provision of new regulations. Yet, at the same time, they also have the same powers as clients, and can influence further directions in development.

The benefits for the citizens are good provision of waste-related services, including the waste pick-up points or mobile collection of dangerous waste.

The initial costs were high, but were used as a credit and thus returned; this was the fastest solution and long-lasting.

Shortcomings

  • There were serious problems in the partnership with A.S.A; however, it was important in the beginning due to its know-how; but later on, this became inappropriate because of the limited opportunities.

Ekodepon is subject to regular competition, and since it provides services to the municipalities on a contract basis, the municipalities can decide to use another provider. Tachov – the biggest municipality, almost one-third of the population of the Association – chose another provider about two years ago. If more municipalities would take this example, then the service area of Ekodepon would become too small and thus uneconomic. The Association is trying to find a way to change the status in order to limit the impacts of such a decision.

Future plans for the development of the IMC practice

The Association is open to new members, as shown in the example of Kladruby, which joined in 2006. At the same time, the range of services provided continuously grows. Currently, there are many discussions on separation of biological waste, so should it becomes obligatory, it will also start providing this service.

The building of the training centre also provides opportunities for many new activities.

Main lessons learned on how to establish IMC and make it a success

  • There should be a common interest in solving problems with waste deposit and with building the landfill.
  • The sense of ownership is important for the cooperation.
  • Local arrangements should be provided.
  • The services provided are complex and flexibility is required in starting new services.

Municipalities frequently cooperate in the field of waste management. There is a similar IMC in Čížkovice (northern Bohemia), where a municipal association owns a limited company that runs a landfill and provides related services (see http://www.sono.byznysweb.cz/). Mr Filipčík was not aware of similar arrangements in the region.

There was no support during the establishment and build-up of the landfill. However, it received grants for the waste sorter and the training centre, both recent projects. Mr Filipčík was very positive about the Regional Development Agency (a body of the Region), which provided assistance during grant application.

Readiness to support other municipalities to establish IMC

The IMC is willing to share their experiences regarding theIMC and waste management.

Acknowledgment

The information about this practice was collected and presented by Lucie Sedmihradska.