Rates charged for dumping garbage at the Davis County burn plant will rise again - the fourth increase since the plant opened in 1986.
After more than an hour of debate, members of the burn plant board gave approval Wednesday night to increase the tipping fee from $25 to $35. Tipping fees are the rates charged garbage haulers to dump waste at the Layton plant."We are taking the easy way out. We have not addressed all of the issues that I feel we need to look at," said Kaysville Mayor Gerald Purdy.
Purdy said, after the board voted, that they not slide the increase issue under the rug and forget about it for another year.
The board had approved a $6.7 million tentative budget on April 12 that required additional revenue but had delayed the decision on raising tipping fees required to fund the budget until Wednesday.
At a public hearing on the budget, Farmington City Manager Max Forbush and Syracuse Mayor Delore Thurgood asked the district to consider changing its rate structure from a per ton charge to cities to a flat fee for each household. Forbush and Thurgood said that it is difficult for cities to design budgets by guessing on the amount of garbage residents throw away.
"It is hard to budget tonnage," said Forbush noting an increase in garbage Farmington residents generated over the past year. "We would like this set up so it is budgeted on a per capita basis, rather than on a per ton basis. It is have been catastrophic to our budget."
Layton Mayor Richard McKenzie also objected during the meeting to a proposal to charge for private residents to dump at the former North Area Refuse Disposal landfill. He said that charge would violate an agreement the district signed with the former owners of the landfill including Clearfield and Layton. He said the charges would prompt people to dump garbage outside of the landfill along roads and other areas in his city.
Kay Chandler, a Clearfield city councilman, said that his city was prepared to file a law suit to keep the district from charging the private vehicle fee.
The board took no action on the private vehicle fees and per household fee proposal. The issues will be examined by a subcommittee next Wednesday and be brought before the board on June 14.
The budget increase, the reason for higher tipping fees, is blamed on low natural gas prices and recent soaring interest rates. Since early 1987, falling natural gas prices have affected revenues the burn plant gets from selling steam to Hill Air Force Base. The steam contract is based on natural gas prices.
More recently, the district had not counted on high interest rates. Rates for repaying the district's $54 million construction debt have risen from 5.5 percent to about 7.4 percent.
The issues behind the fee boost
Although the burn plant board has raised fees, there's no consensus on how the new fees will be distributed among cities. There's also disagreement on proposed $3 charge for private vehicles dumping at the district's landfill in Layton. A subcommittee will look at the issues next Wednesday.
Private dumping: A subcommittee has recommended that private vehicles be charged $3 to dump at the former North Area Refuse Disposal landfill near the burn plant. Layton and Clearfield say a contract they signed with the district allows their residents to dump there for free.
Transfer stations: One solution to solve the private dumping problem proposed by Layton officials is to build a transfer station near the burn plant to handle garbage brought in by private residents.
Per ton charges vs. per household fees: Some officials say that the district ought to divide the total amount needed to be raised in revenues equally among all residents. That would translate to about a $4 charge for residents who live in the district.