Throwing stuff away is going to cost more in some Utah County cities.
Laidlaw Waste Systems Inc., which provides waste disposal service for Alpine, American Fork, Pleasant Grove and Lindon, has asked the cities for a rate increase of 34 cents per month.Richard Zobell, division manager for Laidlaw, said higher insurance costs are the primary reason, but increased labor and benefits costs and fuel taxes also are to blame.
"The cost of doing business, particularly insurance costs, have gone up," said Zobell. "This is the first increase we've had in six years."
In March, Laidlaw had asked cities to serve a 60-cents-per-month increase. That request was denied. During the past six months, Laidlaw was able to increase productivity and lower overhead expenses enough to reduce the needed rate of increase.
Alpine has turned down Laidlaw's 34-cent increase request. American Fork, Lindon and Mapleton approved it, and Pleasant Grove will bring the request back for discussion Tuesday evening during City Council meeting.
American Fork City Councilman Crosby Mecham said the rate-increase request was measured against Laidlaw's productivity and efficiency and was found by the council to have merit.
"It would not be in the public interest to enforce a hardship contract on Laidlaw," he said.
The rate increase, which raised garbage service costs in American Fork from $4.68 to $5.03 - an additional cent was tacked on to cover administrative expenses - per month, was effective Oct. 1.
Lindon for now will absorb the Laidlaw rate increase within the city budget. But residents can expect their garbage service costs to rise at the first of next year.
Members of the Pleasant Grove City Council had asked for more information about the contract with Laidlaw and the need for the increase before voting on it. Councilman Keith Christeson expressed concern over the rate difference between Pleasant Grove and American Fork. Christeson said because of similar population sizes and Pleasant Grove's location closer to the landfill used by Laidlaw, Pleasant Grove rates should be more equal.
"I think the rate difference is a bunch of garbage," Christeson said.
Christeson said the price difference apparently occurred a long time ago when American Fork was more populous than Pleasant Grove.
Christeson said it is likely the increase will be passed on to residents if approved by the council.