Four South Davis cities are considering sharing costs of an automated garbage collection system while putting a garbage transfer station idea on hold.

North Salt Lake Mayor D.W. Jake Simmons said that North Salt Lake, West Bountiful, Woods Cross and Centerville officials are studying the automated system. If the system were chosen, residents would begin wheeling a 90-gallon plastic container to the curb each week instead of taking out trash bags or garbage cans.The system uses standardized containers and specially designed garbage trucks that usually require only one operator. In some systems, a hook attaches to the garbage container and dumps its contents into the truck while the driver remains inside the cab. Several Utah cities are already using the system.

Officials from the four cities, all members of the service district that operates the Davis waste-to-steam plant, believe an automated system would save them money. The proposed system would also serve unincorporated areas of South Davis County. Bountiful, which operates its own disposal system including the Bay Area Refuse Disposal Landfill, would not participate.

A preliminary estimate shows an automated system owned and operated by the cities or special service district would cost each resident about $2.80 a month instead of between $3.15 and $3.25 a month. The rates would be subject to burn plant fee increases.

Committees in both Centerville and North Salt Lake have recommended that their cities join the consolidated system.

Officials have also asked private contractors to bid on the automated system. Simmons said officials want bids for service to the entire south Davis area, individual cities or a combination of cities. It is thought that two systems - one serving North Salt Lake and Woods Cross and the other West Bountiful and Centerville - would be the most efficient, Simmons said.

The bid proposals are expected to be submitted within 30 days.

"The cities will do it if the cost is less than private contractors bid," Simmons said.

In light of the automation plan, officials have put an idea for a garbage transfer station in South Davis County on hold. Officials had considered locating a large metal bin that could be transported to a site somewhere in the area. The idea came in response to residents who complained it was too far to drive extra debris to the burn plant in Layton.

Simmons said he believes the automated system's larger containers should be able to handle residents' extra trash. However, he said the transfer station is still an option if the automated system doesn't meet residents' needs.