Ellis County is offering a half-price sale for homeowners to dump tires at the county landfill.

The sale will run for two weeks from Monday, Sept. 30, to Saturday, Oct. 12, according to Vern Ruder, landfill foreman.

Instead of the usual charge of $200 a ton or 10 cents a pound, the half-price sale will be $100 a ton or 5 cents a pound.

“They can bring however many tires they need to,” said Ruder. “This will hopefully help clean up the county in the long run.”

Tires can be dumped during regular operating hours at the landfill, 1515 W. 55th St., north of town.

“We don’t know exactly how much this will cost us,” Ruder said, but he estimated anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 in briefing materials presented last Monday to the Ellis County Commission at their regular meeting.

The last time the county had a tire amnesty program was eight to 10 years ago, said Ellis County Public Works director Bill Ring, who presented the tire sale proposal to the commissioners.

“This is basically 50 percent of what we normally charge, to try and clean up parts of the county,” Ring told the commissioners.

Previous amnesty programs were funded with $10,000 grants by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, but those have since ended with the state’s budget crisis, Ring said.

The program is good for the county, he said, because old piled-up tires will catch rainwater and become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

“We’re just asking our residents to be good stewards of the county and of the environment and offering somewhat of an incentive in doing it this way,” he said.

One or two passenger tires usually costs $6 for a resident to dump.

“So it would cost you $3 to bring two tires,” Ring said. “We’re just trying to be creative to come up with ways of how we might be able to make things better.”

The tires are picked up about every 30 days by a tire recycler near Park, west of Quinter. Double D Family Mat Shop Inc. weaves together tire treads and fastens them with bolts to make heavy-duty rubber mats for livestock feeding operations, as well as other tire-based products.

Last month, Double D picked up about 17 tons of tires from the landfill, which is a little higher than the usual 12 to 13 tons, said Ruder.

“We had a farmer who brought in four big tractor tires,” Ruder said.

About 100 car tires will equal a ton, he estimated.

County Commissioner Dustin Roths moved at the meeting to approve the tire sale.

“It seems like a good idea to me with the fire risk and the mosquito problems,” Roths said.

The program isn’t intended for commercial businesses. The landfill will have a form at drop-off.

“People would sign attesting to the fact that it is from their farm or their home, their garage, that they’re not a commercial business, or doing it for profit,” Ring said.

Right now the landfill is on target to outpace last year’s revenue, he said, so the financial loss shouldn’t be a burden.

Not offering amnesty can be costly, however.

“One of the ways it costs the county money, is if a person chooses not to come pay,” Ring said. “They throw it in a ditch, and it’s now costing Ellis County like five times that amount of money for me to send a crew of guys out, with a truck to go out to a ditch to pick it up and we still have to bring it to the landfill and we still end up paying to get rid of it.”