With roofers hard at work repairing damage from a hailstorm that hit Erath County in February, the Stephenville City Council’s Environmental Management Committee discussed options for helping the repair pros deal with piles of debris hampering their progress.

The problem, according to one roofing pro, is the landfill’s operating hours.

In a letter to the city council, Joe Don Slawson, of Slawson Roofing, explained the issue.

“The problem we encounter, as does every roofing company in the area, is that our roof disposal needs occur by Tuesday. We start removing roofs Monday morning and our trucks are full by Tuesday morning,” Slawson wrote. “If we cannot dispose of the debris until Thursday morning, we quickly get extremely backlogged. This is inconvenient for our company and our customers, and is very inefficient. We have tried stacking the debris on the roofs until our trucks become available, but this leads to extra expense and problems.”

Slawson said in “normal” years the company has been able to get by with the Thursday-Saturday schedule, but his company alone is faced with repairing “several hundred” homes. Slawson said Wednesday that he has booked more than 500 jobs since the storm hit.

“It is not even April and I am within a few weeks of booking the total jobs booked for the entire year last year,” Slawson said. “And it is not even storm season yet. Time is of the essence.”

Slawson said if roofing companies cannot dump the debris prior to Thursday, they will likely have to travel to other cities’ landfills to leave their loads. He said hauling the material would mean increased cost for homeowners and a loss of revenue at the city landfill.

Slawson is not the only local business requesting an extension to operating hours. He presented a petition signed by 15 local contracting companies also requesting the council’s assistance, but the decision to extend hours is not a simple one.

According Nick Williams, director of public works, and Cam Raulston, landfill supervisor, there are several issues that make extended hours, even on a temporary basis, difficult.

Williams explained that the state requires the city’s type 4 landfill, which is used to dispose of construction and brush debris, to be covered weekly. He said for operations at the landfill, the best bet would be to open a partial, or full, day Wednesday to accommodate the contractors since Tuesday would interfere with the covering period. If the city covered materials dumped during regular operating hours and then contractors brought in loads on Tuesday, the landfill would have to be recovered Wednesday. He said covering is a time consuming task.

City Administrator Mark Kaiser said the issue was about the best use of the city’s dollar.

“We need to keep Wednesdays closed to keep operators digging,” Kaiser said.

Kaiser explained that city employees using city equipment would save an estimated $5,000 to $10,000 a day by digging cells three and four at the landfill.

“Wednesday would be a very bad business decision,” Kaiser said.

Due to cells one and two nearing capacity, the city is looking to shut down those cells and open three and four. With contractors working double time to repair homes, and homeowners ready to spruce up their homes for spring, the two new cells are an immediate need.

Mayor Nancy Hunter said to best service citizens and roofing companies alike, the council would have to find a solution to the dumping problem. She advised the council to consider temporarily opening for a few hours on Tuesdays to ensure citizens get their roofs replaced as quickly as possible and the contractors were not forced to take their loads elsewhere.

“We need to make this work,” Hunter said.

While the roofers may have been searching for a quick fix to the debris dumping issue, the committee agreed to forward the final decision to the full city council for a vote on April 7.