West Jordan solid waste fee increases to $16/month
Nov 08, 2018 02:21PM
● By Jana Klopsch
By Erin Dixon | [email protected]
On Nov. 1, solid waste pickup will increase to $16 a month, per household.
For three months, the West Jordan City Council discussed a request to increase the solid waste fee and explored alternative ways to cut costs.
Councilmember Chad Lamb was hesitant to approve a request for an increase without understanding where the money is going.
“As a citizen who is going to get that bill in the mail, sometimes it just happens, and we don’t tell people why we just tell them it’s going to cost more,” Lamb said.
A statement from the public works department reads, “Despite a cost of living adjustment built into the contract for the hauler and roughly a 14.5 percent cost of inflation from July 2008 to July 2018, the City of West Jordan is actually charging residents less than they were paying 10 years ago.”
Before the council approved the increase, a public survey was conducted to gauge the desires of the community and whether continuing recycling and other services was important. More than 1,200 residents responded. Ninety percent stated that they prefer to recycle when they can. (Complete results can be viewed here: https://www.westjordan.utah.gov/garbageandrecycling .)
The overall budget for trash, green waste, neighborhood dumpsters, glass recycling, the shred event and Christmas tree pickup is $3,269,869.
The increase in fees will pay for the increased tipping fees at the TransJordan Landfill, not an increase in costs from the cities contracted removal service, Ace Disposal.
Costs at the landfill have increased from $14/ton to $16/ton for city dumping. Green waste dumping fees have increased from $0/ton to $6/ton.
“These fees have put the solid waste funds in the red,” said Justin Stoker, public works director.
The council directed staff to investigate other internal costs to offset the increase with the landfill. Stoker said changing the contract with Ace Disposal might actually open the flood gate for an even larger fee increase.
“If the city wanted to go to an ‘opt in/opt out’ for recycling, the cost from the hauler would be another $1.50 more per household because it includes an adjustment to their cost to dispose of recycling. If we keep it at 100 percent, then we’re locked in to the current rate and Ace continues to eat the cost for disposing of recycling,” Stoker said.
Beginning this past September, the solid waste fund will be in the red by $63,000 overspending monthly because of fee increases from service providers for trash and recycling. If the change had been further delayed, then the debt would only increase and would require an even larger increase to the residents.
But, the confirmed increase in the collected solid waste fee will guarantee the reimbursing of that debt in a few months and be sufficient for operating costs in the foreseeable future.
At the city council meeting on Sept. 11, Stoker again addressed the council after further investigations into the increase request.
“The soonest we could change is Nov. 1…. $12.83 to $16. Each month this issue gets postponed, the need to increase the rate increases by 3 percent to get our fund back in the green by end of the fiscal year,” Stoker said.
Councilmember Dirk Burton said that continuing to look for ways to cut costs, after the three-month investigation, would be a costly waste of time.
“When I read what the savings would be and how little they would be, I don’t think that’s going to make a lot of difference on what we have to work with,” Burton said. “Anything else we do is going to take additional time, and I don’t think the return on that would be advantageous.”
There are major changes at the TransJordan Landfill that are driving up costs.
“While I don’t have specific details, I do know that the landfill has been searching for future solutions,” Stoker said. “They’ve invested in a space in Utah County and have been saving up for transfer stations to accommodate; they are planning for some future issues with the landfill.”
The TransJordan Landfill is working on its coming operational shift when the landfill reaches capacity.