While line-by-line negotiations over the new contract between ECDC and East Carbon City continue, one matter was settled Tuesday night. ECDC said it has no problem with the city deciding what to do with the company's scholarship fund for local youth.
In the beginning years, ECDC was simply paying out tuition for graduating East Carbon seniors to help with a two-year college education.
"We didn't feel like we had good control at that point, so in 2006 we attempted to clean that up a little bit," explained landfill administrator Kirk Treece. "What we agreed to was paying $15,000 a year or $7,500 a semester for CEU or now Utah State to administer the money and decide who gets it, based on how many students apply. If only one person applied they would get the money, if 10 applied they would allocate it out from there."
According to Treece, what the city and ECDC have been discussing is opening the process up to include schools other that USU-Eastern. As the group continued to discuss the scholarship, it became apparent that ECDC was fine with the city defining what the parameters of the scholarship be.
"The easiest thing would be to let us administer this money," said Maggio. "That way if we find a student who wants to be in engineering or med school we could decide to help them into the third and fourth year."
Upon deciding to let East Carbon take over the administration of the scholarship, the council agreed to assemble a committee to review applicants as ECDC will now approach USU-Eastern about releasing the funds.
As for other issues involved in the lengthy negotiations, both the city and ECDC agree in principal over many issues within the current contract, but there are some issues such as potential toxic waste disposal that are unresolved.
The council and ECDC have been in negotiation for the past couple of months over just what the company's tippage fees will be concerning different classes of material that could be brought in to the landfill. It has been made clear that both the city and the company feel that two separate rates should be accessed for material regulated by the Toxic Substances Control act vs. non-TSCA material. While specific numbers were not discussed during this session, ECDC's original offer was to have their fee raised from $1 per ton to $1.50 per ton starting now. During a previous session, East Carbon City Attorney Jeremy Humes reported that the city was looking to reply to that offer with a specific 25 cent increase on all PCB materials with a stepped increase at three, five, seven and nine years.
Again, while specific cost increases were not discussed, Treese did explain from his company's perspective, the way in which they formulate host fees. It's called a net tippage fee, what ECDC gets to keep after subtracting such things as freight and on-site trucking from the fee charged to shippers. The company wants to use that net fee as a basis for the host fee.
Some within the council were leery that ECDC would be able to manipulate transportation and loading costs to minimize the city's fee. Treece was adamant that this was not the case.
"We can show you what our cost is from the railroad and we can show you what our cost is to have material trucked from point A to point B," said Treece. "I think you will trust what we are doing, we have brokers which we pay on commission in the same way. Our books are open."
There was also the question about fees on waste brought in from other countries.
According to Treece, that language in the contract about international waste was something which was left over from the original contract from which the current document was drafted.
"Do you anticipate bringing in any offshore material?" asked council member David Maggio.
"No, but you never know," said Treece. "ECDC brought in some material from Guam at one point so I'm not going to sit here and say it's never going to happen. But listen, if it comes from China or New York or Salt Lake it would have to pass the same profile process and the same safety regulations."
Along with the financial portion of the contract, ECDC responsibility for the city's transfer station has also been a major negotiating point in the contract. When Treese approached the council on Tuesday, he came with number which reached over $100,000 per year to have ECDC take over and man the facility 24-hours a day, seven days a week. When asked if that type of manpower was needed, Treese explained his company's current situation in Washington County.
"They have an area up there where they just had drop offs, so anytime a person could go up and throw away anything they wanted in 8-yard containers. We would come around every so often and dump those containers," he explained. "One day, somebody dropped off some rocket fuel, two five gallon containers of rocket fuel in 105 degree weather right in front of those 8-yard bins and that was the point that finally got them to build a transfer and man it all day."
While the two sides were unable to come to a number concerning the transfer station, they did agreed to continue negotiating the subject. The contract will now be amended and reviewed once again before it is formalized by the parties.