When it comes to selling the Sonoma County landfill, the question has been asked again and again: Why would a for-profit company be eager to shoulder the financial liabilities that county government is so eager to unload?

At this morning’s forum, Phil Demery, the county director of transportation and public works, provided an answer. When it comes to financing the costs associated with re-opening the landfill, Demery said, private companies “have a certain financial horsepower that we don’t have.”

But Alan Strachan, a consultant to North Bay Corp., the leading opponent of privatization, warned that the bill will still land in the mailbox of hometown consumers. “We should be real clear that . . . we’re going to pay for this one way or the other,” Strachan said.