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Front Page » October 9, 2007 » Opinion » Letter to the Editor: View of what happened
Published 2,922 days ago

Letter to the Editor: View of what happened

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I believe the citizens of Helper deserve to know the details behind the recent skirmish between the city council and City Sanitation and the eventual negotiated settlement of the issue.

City Sanitation came to the city council with the plan to increase garbage pickup fees on residents by $2.17 per month and additional increases for business pickups. The city council, by a 3-2 vote, rejected the proposal, maintaining Helper City had a valid contract with the company for garbage disposal signed by both parties several years ago.

After the council rejection, City Sanitation took the stand that their contract was now broken and the company began gathering up the blue garbage containers throughout the city on Sept. 24.

Meanwhile, Helper City, through city attorney Gene Strate, petitioned George Harmond, district court judge in Price, for a restraining order against City Sanitation's action. Judge Harmond granted a temporary restraining order against City Sanitation causing the disposal company to begin returning the containers to city residents on Wednesday, Sept. 26.

On Thursday, Helper Mayor Mike Dalpiaz convened a special city council meeting to explain the situation with Helper residents invited to attend. A large crowd filled the council chambers to hear Mayor Dalpiaz recount what had taken place the previous week and the issuance of the temporary restraining order by the court. The major noted that Judge Harmond would take the situation under study and would decide the following week if a permanent restraining order was justified. Citizens at the meeting asked many questions regarding the matter and were informed that following the special council meeting, the city's governing board would go into an executive session to consider a possible negotiated settlement.

As reported in the Sun Advocate in the Oct. 2 issue, the council resolved the issue by accepting a negotiated agreement whereby the garbage collection fees would increase $2.15 per residential container and 63 cents per yard for commercial waste. As the Sun Advocate article pointed out, the residential fee accepted by the city is two cents lower than the original request by City Sanitation. As part of the new agreement, City Sanitation would forgo a 15 cent escalation fee scheduled for next year in the original contract.

In all fairness to City Sanitation, it should be pointed out the real cause for the boost in fees is the increase imposed by the landfill in East Carbon City for disposing garbage at that facility. Since the construction of a landfill nearer the Wasatch Front area, the East Carbon facility has been hurting and in danger of folding up. We don't see the familiar garbage trains on the Union Pacific passing through Carbon County headed for the landfill in East Carbon anymore. This situation leaves Carbon County and the cities in the county in a quandary. Should the East Carbon facility fail, just how and who would handle garbage disposal in the county. It would entail a tremendous expense for the initiation of a new landfill if that responsibility fell upon the county. Carbon commissioners took the first step in going along with the landfills increase in disposal rates rather than face a new ball game.

This is my view of what took place in the last two weeks in Helper and if there are other conflicting views, I would appreciate hearing them.

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October 9, 2007
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