The Davis County Energy District's tentative budget for 1991-92 bears good and bad news for Davis residents.
The good news: The $50-per-ton tipping fee - which garbage haulers pay the district and which largely determines what your garbage rates are - will not go up.The bad news: The $50-per-ton tipping fee will not go down, either.
Consequently, Davis residents - except those in Bountiful, which is not part of the district - will continue to pay some of the highest garbage rates in the state.
If it's any consolation, though, the high costs can be considered an investment in the future because the money is paying for the energy recovery facility, or burn plant, which incinerates the garbage to produce steam sold for profit and reduces the garbage's volume by 90 percent, said LeGrand Bitter, energy district director.
The tipping fee - which has more than tripled since 1986, when it was $15 per ton - is high because revenues from steam sales to Hill Air Force Base have fallen far short of projections.
When the burn plant was in the planning stages in the mid-1980s, forecasters predicted it would be earning as much as $5 million a year in steam revenues by now.
But, instead, it is only producing around $1.5 million a year, forcing the district to make up the deficit with higher tipping fees to commercial haulers, who pass the fee along to garbage rate payers.
Total district revenues in 1991-92 are expected to be $7.9 million, with $5.9 million coming from tipping fees.
The biggest expense is an estimated $3.8 million in interest payments on the $52 million bond issued to build the plant. That expense could go up, depending on what the bond market does to the variable rate.
Complicating budget matters this year is litigation between the district and Davis Energy Systems, which operates the burn plant. The district has budgeted $250,000 for legal fees, a 250-percent increase over 1990-91 legal expenses.
"Certainly the things that can adversely affect us are interest rates and an adverse ruling in the lawsuits," Bitter said.
A public hearing on the energy district's budget has been set for Tuesday, May 8, at 5:15 p.m. in the County Commission Chambers in Farmington. A copy of the budget will be available for public inspection at the district offices, 650 E. Highway 193, Layton, for seven days prior to the hearing.