The comparison of Provo City to an overpowering "big brother" may be fading for the south county cities involved in the new landfill project now that a special services district has been formed and a new name has been given to the project.
According to Merrill Bingham, Provo water resources director, the cities involved in the project - Spanish Fork, Springville, Salem and Mapleton - are through being suspicious of the other party's motive."We feel really good about the board," he said. "The district approach is the best way to go in the interest of the taxpayers. Everyone is working hard together. That is encouraging to me."
In the past months, the councils of smaller cities have had some concerns about going with Provo City on the landfill project, fearing that they would have no say in how the landfill operates.
But representatives from the cities met Thursday to determine how the landfill should be organized. All agreed on a special service district that operates as a separate entity with an executive committee and technical committee.
The mayor or a designated representative from each city will be on the executive committee, which makes all operating decisions, determines the budget and handles other financial matters.
A technical committee will also be part of the district. A technical staff member from each city will work together on the district's technical issues and will go to the board with recommendations.
"We are sensitive to those who think we run the show," Bingham said. "We want you to feel comfortable with the decisions and make sure you have a voice in what is going on."
He said the district structure may be modified, but the adoption of the special service district will allow them to make some initial decisions on the project.
Provo City spearheaded the idea for a new landfill because the city's current fill is at capacity. They have encouraged other cities to join in and share costs in the landfill, which will be constructed to meet Environmental Protection Agency requirements.
Total cost for development of the landfill will be about $6.5 million. Provo will divide the pie to determine what percentage each city should pay.
At Thursday's meeting the city representatives also approved a new name for the landfill project - the South Utah Valley Solid Waste District.
A public hearing on the formation of the district will be at the end of February or first of March, he said. In the meantime, the group will also be looking at a transfer station site to be located somewhere between Provo and Spanish Fork.
A well has already been drilled at the site, and a road, a water tank and maintenance shed have also been constructed. Cell construction is the final stage before the landfill can open.
Bingham said bids on excavating and building the first cell will open Feb. 8 and so far 21 companies have showed interest in the project. The city anticipates a competitive bid on the project since it is a good winter construction activity and many companies are looking for work.
A million cubic yards of dirt will be taken out to make room for garbage in the first stage of the first cell. The cell is 12 acres wide with an average depth of 35 feet.
Most of the soil will be used to build berms that will serve as visual barriers for those cells located closer to the highway. The intent is that the landfill never be visible from the highway, Bingham said.
After the cell is excavated, it will be lined with a synthetic material to prevent seepage. A lechate system will also be a part of the cell to make sure that none of the moisture goes into the ground. If there is moisture in the cell, the lechate drain line will take the moisture into a pond where it can evaporate.
Waste trucked to the facility will be covered with soil daily. Once the cell is full, a 6-foot cap of clay soil will be placed over the top to keep moisture out.
The landfill is on 640 acres of state-owned land southwest of Utah Lake, 51/2 miles north of Elberta. The district will control the property on a 50-year lease from the state paying $8,000 a year.