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Trash is illegal treasure at ECC transfer station

Sun Advocate reporter

Material dumped at the East Carbon City transfer station may be refuse, but it is not without value. Ever growing "scrap metal" prices have turned the city's public dump into a scavenge yard, prompting multiple arrests and leading to costly vandalism. That's because while citizens can dump most any material at the site, it is a crime to take that same material out.

"Remember all of the shutters we had on this building when we renovated? There was hundreds and hundreds of feet of that material and it was all aluminum. It's all gone," said East Carbon Mayor Orlando LaFontaine, bringing the issue before the city council. "Many things are gone from that area. We need to do something with this material because it is a target for theft."

According to LaFontaine, the theft and vandalism have become a constant issue, taking up police resources as well as the city court's time.

"I think what we need to do is find a recycling company who will work with us and get that material out of there," he said. "I'm asking the city council to let me get rid of these things, they're stealing them anyway. This way, we can make a little money."

LaFontaine told the council that he would either arrange for the chosen recycling agent to either place bins at the station on State Road 123 or have them pick up the material regularly.

Council member Darrel Valdez inquired about the video equipment that had at one time monitored the area and was told that the surveillance electronics along with several other items had been destroyed by vandals.

"Everything was destroyed. They broke the cameras, destroyed the front door of our shack, they stole the compressor that we had down there." explained Council member David Maggio. "Now I know we turned that in, so where is that compressor now?"

City police Sgt. Phillip Holt said that while the compressor and other equipment was recovered following the first theft at the station, it has not been located following the second theft.

"That is my point," said LaFontaine. "We have to get that stuff out of there. There could be some sizable funds but not if we keep losing it."

The mayor asked that the council take the revenue generated and move it toward paying for some upgraded steel shingles that were placed on East Carbon City Hall during it's renovation. The remainder of the funds would then be used for a park project which the city hopes to move forward on next year.

"Its a constant battle to keep people out of the metal portion of that transfer station," continued Maggio, favoring the mayor's plan. "People go down there, dump off a load of wood and trash and leave with a load of metal on the way home. And we can't have our police officers at the landfill all day watching for petty theft, we need to address this."

According to Maggio, if the city were to keep track of the scrap metal dumped, they could fill a typical trash bin in a week. He also stipulated that the last time the city sold its metal pile they were paid between three and $5,000.

"We used to do that (sell the scrap metal)," said LaFontaine, moving forward on the point. "What happened was that we lost our recyclers and then we couldn't get anyone else to come up here for a reasonable fee. With current metal prices, I think I can finding someone could be easier."

Following his point, the council accepted a motion to allow the mayor to look for and contract with a new recycler and passed said motion unanimously.

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