BOUNTIFUL Just short of two months after the Bountiful City Council voted to create an optional recycling program in the city, it reversed its decision and decided recently to make it mandatory.
Starting sometime in December, Waste Management will begin delivering special garbage cans so the company can begin collecting recyclable materials.
And in January, residential bills will begin reflecting an increase of $3.03 for recycling.
The 3-2 vote came July 22 following a council discussion about recycling.
City officials, in working out a contract with Allied Waste, whose bid the council accepted in May, learned Allied Waste wanted the city to guarantee a certain revenue level over four years to make it worth Allied Waste's efforts to pick up recycling.
If 10 percent of homes had joined the program, they would have paid $8.13 a month for pickup from Allied Waste every other week.
That's cheaper than the current program about 150 homes subscribe to with Mountain West Recycling for $10 a month.
But if at least 1,250 households didn't sign up for the optional program, the city would have had to make up the difference in missing revenue, said city manager Tom Hardy. About $8,000 a month was the worst-case scenario.
Hardy said the city doesn't blame Allied Waste for wanting to guarantee its revenue stream, but the potential cost, combined with a new $30,000 to $35,000 charge for Rocky Mountain Recycling's 200 West recycling drop-off location, persuaded three council members to vote for a change: Beth Holbrook, John (Marc) Knight and Tom Tolman.
Holbrook had proposed a mandatory recycling program with Waste Management during the May 27 council meeting, but her motion died for lack of a second.
But she received support for the same motion during the July 22 meeting.
"We just felt it would be more cost effective for us to go ahead and set up citywide program," Holbrook said Wednesday, adding that she has received many e-mails commending the council's decision.
The $3.03 recycling fee includes a 5-cent fuel surcharge based on $4.60 per gallon of diesel fuel.
For every 15 cents diesel goes up in price, the fuel surcharge increases by about a penny.
In November, Bountiful surveyed residents to get their opinions on the recycling question and 58 percent of those who responded were against a mandatory program while 42 percent were for it.
"That was before we found out the opt-in program probably wasn't going to be viable and we had free way for people to do recycling," Hardy said.
Bountiful resident Ron Mortensen, co-founder of CitizensForTaxFairness.org, said he is disappointed that the City Council would force another fee onto its residents.
The council had already approved increases in water, stormwater and power fees for its residents for this year's budget about $132 a year for the average home.
The extra $36 for recycling may become a serious burden on residents with fixed incomes, Mortensen said.
"It's just another example of coercive government forcing people into doing things they don't want to do," Mortensen said. "There's no feeling for the common person out there."
The Woods Cross City Council voted in April to become the first Davis County city to implement a citywide curbside recycling program for all of its 2,500 homes.
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