Mayor Dan Snarr has a refuse deal he hopes the City Council can't refuse.
For a mere $8.10 a month, he says, Murray residents can have both their regular household garbage and a second recycling can picked up at their curbs.The mayor said the deal behind Door No. 3 includes the $3.50 Murray residents already pay each month for garbage can rental ($1.50 monthly) and future landfill closure ($2 monthly).
But it also means Murray residents would shell out an additional $4.60 a month for garbage pickup - a long-time city "perk" that traditionally has been covered by the general fund - plus a new curbside recycling program.
The mayor maintains his plan is comparatively inexpensive, environmentally friendly and will provide new revenue for repairing city roads and planning a new community recreation center.
Snarr would like to think the waste fee is an idea whose time has come - but he'd also like to think it won't get the Gong Show treatment when he presents his newly refined cost estimates.
He'll get that verdict Wednesday evening when the proposal comes up for council debate during a fiscal 1998 budget workshop.
If Councilman John Rush could sum up his reaction to the mayor's garbage plan in one word, it would probably be "Rubbish."
"I'm adamantly opposed to it on principle," Rush said. "We've always paid for garbage collection out of the general fund, and there are more than ample funds to continue to pay for it.
"It's an increase for our residents whether you call it a fee for service or whatever," he added. "It's another charge . . . and I think it's an unnecessary one."
Snarr said he's willing to take the heat on his proposal because it's the only way he can see to fund badly needed road repairs and start moving on a recreation center.
The $8.10 fee, he noted, "is a lot less than most other communities collect" and would ensure a healthy solid waste enterprise fund where the fees collected would cover the cost of services.
Rush said he gets very few complaints about road conditions from constituents. "If roads is an issue," he added, "let's fund them in an appropriate manner. Money set aside for garbage pickup isn't intended to fund road repairs."
Don Patton, a Murray resident who has run for mayor a couple of times, said he plans to mobilize a residents coalition against the waste collection fee if the council buys off on Snarr's proposal.
"They will think the annexation battle was tame compared to this," he said. "No one I have talked to agrees with this fee. It would be the same as a tax increase."
Patton, who has been a mayor and a city manager in Ohio, said city officials need to look at ways to save money - not spend more.
"Murray spends more per capita from the general fund than every city in the county except Salt Lake City," he said. "It's approximately $600 per person.
"And our city has the highest ratio of city employees to residents except for Salt Lake. That's about 10 per 1,000 people," Patton noted, citing 1996 figures. "I think the only way to control spending in Murray City is to reduce the revenue, because as long as we have the revenue we will spend it."
Snarr plans to take his plan directly to residents this month during a series of seven "vision" meetings May 12 through May 20.
The mayor will explain his plan for a flexible but mandatory recycling program to reduce the amount of Murray trash being taken to the landfill each week.
"Murray City is the biggest user of the Trans Jordan Cities Landfill because we don't promote recycling," Snarr said. "We need to be more environmentally friendly" to avoid using up the landfill's capacity.
"I can get by with one garbage can and a recycling can very easily, and I have five children."