BRIGHAM CITY Weeks after the Box Elder County Commission voted to join a regional landfill consortium a citizen group is seeking a referendum to put the waste issue on the November ballot.
Ten voters signed the referendum application and submitted it to the county clerk Monday. Led by former state representative Eli Anderson, the group will need 2,331 signatures by early July to get on the Nov. 4. ballot.
The group wants a public vote on the formation of NURLA the Northern Utah Regional Landfill Association a consortium of governments from Weber, Morgan, Davis, Cache and Box Elder counties.
NURLA plans to create a super-landfill west of Corrine to take trash from all five counties. The proposal promises to reduce garbage collection costs.
"We wanted them to postpone it a little bit until we find out more about it," said Anderson. "This was the only option available to help people get informed on the matter."
Box Elder's county commission approved its involvement Dec. 18 on a 2-1 vote and will sell its own landfill, Little Mountain, to buy into NURLA.
Commissioners are puzzled by the referendum petition. NURLA has been in the works for nearly four years and commissioners said they thought the process had been transparent and open to citizen input.
"I had thought we had gone through all that, but maybe we didn't do a good enough job of it," Commissioner Jay Hardy said.
Hardy said he expects Anderson to get the signatures needed for a referendum but fears the issue will end up in court.
It's unclear whether a referendum could legally repeal Box Elder's contracts with other NURLA counties, Hardy said.
Anderson is no stranger to landfill fights. In 1994 he tried to settle a dispute over a landfill proposal in White's Valley, land Box Elder officials sold to Davis County. Residents objected to the location, citing water contamination concerns and stopped the landfill, but Davis County still holds the land.
"With White's Valley, the county commission gave up all its legislative rights to the land," Anderson said. "We're afraid the same thing is happening again with Little Mountain."