The Davis burn plant board has ignored the threat of an anti-trust lawsuit from a national garbage hauler and has agreed to accept garbage from haulers outside of Davis County.
The board reaffirmed Wednesday night its decision to allow the burn plant's manager to contract with Ogden City and other garbage haulers to buy their garbage at lower rates than haulers within Davis County are charged."Our attorney has given us a favorable opinion in relation to anti-trust allegations. There is a reasonable expectation that we will not be in violation of federal or state anti-trust laws. What we are attempting to do is not predatory. We are only trying to survive," said burn plant manager Jim Young.
The district said it needs between 70 and 100 tons of extra garbage a day to meet contracted steam demands at nearby Hill Air Force Base. The district creates steam by burning garbage and then sells it to the base.
A New York attorney representing Browning Ferris Industries wrote a letter to the district in October asking it to stop plans to entice outside haulers - particularly from Weber County - with lower rates. The company, hinting at legal action, claimed such would be a violation of federal anti-trust statutes.
Earlier this week, Waste Management of Ogden, a Weber County hauler, began transporting 35 tons of garbage per day to the burn plant. They pay $5.50 a ton, compared to the $9.50 per ton charged at the BFI-operated Weber County landfill. It is hoped that Ogden City will contract to provide between 60 and 80 tons a day for a similar price.
John Volpi, BFI district manager, said Thursday that bringing in outside garbage, particularly from Weber County, is nothing more than predatory price-fixing. In addition to operating the Weber County landfill, BFI hauls garbage in Salt Lake and Davis Counties.
"We are losing revenues because they are subsidizing people who use our landfill," Volpi said. "The residents of Davis County are also being penalized."
Young said he believes the district isn't being predatory and that the district needs the extra garbage to meet its contract obligations to Hill Air Force Base and to keep fees from increasing.
Without the extra garbage, burn plant operators have been forced to go to the nearby Layton landfill, which the service district owns, and dig up garbage to burn. Young said that operation is costing the district between $7.50 and $8 a ton.