Residents will be paying more to have their garbage collected.
The City Council voted Tuesday to raise fees for residents with one trash container to $9.50 a month, an increase of $3.50. The rate for each additional bin was raised from $2 to $5 per month.Provo residents who addressed the council during a public hearing Tuesday voiced displeasure at the increase. They also complained that the decision to raise rates was made before the council unanimously approved it in the meeting.
And basically it was. The mayor and council members repeatedly said they had no choice but to increase fees because of the new landfill in western Utah County about six miles north of Elberta. It began operation Feb. 4.
"There's no way I can see that we can eliminate this cost," said council member Gordon W. Bullock.
Provo resident Melvin Bushman said the council acted without thinking about citizens, especially the elderly.
"It might appear that the decision is made lightly and quickly. It is not," said Mayor Joe Jenkins. "We think we studied this with good minds, and we think this is the least expensive way there is."
The garbage-collection process now goes like this: Provo sanitation crews pick up residential trash and transport it to a transfer station in Springville. Garbage is compacted and processed at the station and then trucked 34 miles to the dump.
"The increases are to pay for the handling, transporting and disposing," said David Gunn, city public services director. "Those are steps we didn't have to do (before)."
Before the Environmental Protection Agency required the city close down the old dump at approximately 450 E. 1700 South, city crews merely picked up garbage and deposited it there.
The new landfill was built as a cooperative effort involving Provo, Springville, Spanish Fork, Salem and Mapleton. Provo kicked in about $4 million, Gunn said. Gunn said the money was taken from the sanitation reserve fund, which was set aside for that purpose over a number of years.
Councilman Ronald Last said he's glad to see the new dump, which is designed to meet the community refuse disposal needs for the next 50 years.
"I'm delighted to know that we won't have to have those sea gulls to contend with on the golf course," he said. The new East Bay golf course is next to the old landfill.
Gunn said the new landfill is "the only environmentally planned and designed" facility in the state.