Legislative landfill resolution concerns East Carbon officials
A legislative resolution to allow the opening of a regional Wasatch Front garbage dump for municipal waste will apparently impact operations at the East Carbon Development Corporation's landfill.
The legislative landfill resolution will eliminate part of the business the ECDC facility is currently receiving from Salt Lake and Utah counties.
The situation has East Carbon officials concerned because a portion of the tippage fees charged at the ECDC landfill go toward supporting the city, particularly with the town's bonding obligations.
"This could be an economic disaster to our city and the county," said Mayor Dale Andrews at the East Carbon council meeting on Feb. 22.
Concurring with the mayor, Councilmember Dave Maggio voiced concern about tippage fees and how a Wasatch Front landfill could affect the town.
"If we lose those fees, there is no way we can pay our bonds," said Maggio. "Right now to pay off those bonds, it would take $5600 from each man, woman and child in the town to do it. The former council members who served were promised that the stipend for these fees would be millions of dollars. We, as councilmembers, don't deserve this problem thrown in our laps. No elected official does."
Darlene Kuhns said she thought Utah was at fault for allowing such a thing to happen to the town, particularly since the site of the Wasatch Front waste storage facility will be located on state institutional trust lands.
Andrews explained that ECDC said the alternative for disposing of the urban area trash has changed because the railroad has jacked up the shipping fees so high. The increased shipping costs have made the use of property in the populated Wasatch Front area become more attractive.
"They say it's a matter of economics," noted the East Carbon mayor. "Management at ECDC says that they will still get industrial waste and, in fact, they get the same rate from the railroad to ship that from California as it costs to ship municipal waste from Salt Lake."
The resolution passed by the Utah Senate was sponsored by Senator Ron Allen of Tooele.
The resolution called for the state to approve a landfill similar to the facility located in East Carbon in Tooele County. The northern Utah disposal site would be operated by the Wasatch Regional Solid Waste Management Corporation.
Located on 2,000 acres of state trust land, the Wasatch Front facility would receive non-hazardous waste. Appropriate types of garbage include municipal waste, industrial materials, construction and demolition debris along with special wastes.
It's proximity to the Wasatch Front would make it a less expensive alternative to shipping waste into East Carbon. Much of what is put in the ECDC landfill comes from the municipalities along the Wasatch Front.
Addressing an unrelated matter, the city council also had to look at spending money to keep things on track in the police department. Police Chief Sam Leonard approached the council to let them know that the computer software the force uses to generate reports and keep up to date has failed. He also said that it, along with their computer systems are so far behind what other departments are using now, he can't find anyone to fix it.
"The fact is that problem can't be solved easily or cheaply," said Leonard. "Actually this system has done all we could expect of it. I have know for years it was behind the times and if it failed we would need to do something different. That time, unfortunately, is now."
Leonard said that police reports are every bit as important as field work, and he would like to see the city go to something more compatible with the county's system. But he said he also realized it was probably out of the city's league to purchase that software for $18,000 plus the cost of hardware to handle it.
"I found another system in Salt Lake that is designed for small police departments," he told the council. "They use the same system in Wellington and I talked to Lee (Barry, police chief in the town) and he said it seemed to be working well."
Leonard said that system would only cost $4,995 with a service agreement cost of $900 to $1100 per year. There was also some discussion about what kind of computer to buy to run the software.
The council then approved the purchase of both. They also approved the hiring of a engineering firm to redesign the sewer lagoons west of town that have been determined by the state to be inadequate and ineffective.
"The funding by the community impact board has not been totally approved yet, but I feel we need to get started on this so that it doesn't get set back another year," said the mayor.
Some of the council members were a little concerned about doing that without funding, but Andrews told them that the firm that wanted the job had agreed to do it without the funding being set.
"Besides it is now in the final stages of approval and no one has ever been denied money at this stage," stated Andrews. The cost for the design will be $35,000. The mayors said once the design is done and the money approved the bidding process for a construction company will take place in June and construction should begin immediately after the bid is awarded. The entire project should be done by the end of October.
The mayor also reminded council members and those present that a public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. on March 8 concerning the issuance of sewer bonds.