After several months of operating on a month-by-month verbal agreement, the city council has given final approval to a five-year contract with Wasatch Disposal for residential garbage pickup.
The agreement includes a pass-through clause for the contractor for any increase in the tipping fee at the Salt Lake County landfill but also provides the city with a renegotiation clause. Under that clause the contract could be reworked to reduce projected fee increases keyed to expected inflation.The current $3.35 monthly charge per household will continue for the remainder of this year. The fee would then increase over the next four years to $4.35 per month. Most of that increase will occur in the last two years of the contract.
That sharp increase in the contract's final two years prompted council members to call for a renegotiation clause. Marty Springer, owner of Wasatch Disposal, told the council the increases are based on projected operating costs.
Council members said inflation rates might not justify the increases and they want some protection should inflation continue at its pres-ent low level. Mayor Theron B. Hutchings said the renegotiation clause can work both ways, however, giving Wasatch an opportunity to seek additional rate hikes should inflation be higher than projected.
Councilwoman Merlynn Newbold raised the strongest objection to the proposed increases but gave a reluctant endorsement to the contract when the final vote was called.
The council approved the pass-through clause, saying Wasatch has no control over the tipping fee charged at the landfill and that this is a fixed cost of operation. The tipping fee is the price per ton of garbage charged to those dumping refuse at the landfill.