Commission decides to raise landfill fees

Plans to close facility on Sundays dropped

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People will still be able to use the Moffat County Landfill on Sundays, but they'll be paying more for what they dump.

The Moffat County commissioners discussed two proposals regarding the landfill Tuesday, one to increase fees and the other to close the landfill on Sundays.

A motion to increase fees, which will increase landfill revenue by an estimated $150,000 next year, unanimously passed but no action was taken to close the landfill on Sundays.

Fees for municipal and commercial industrial waste for residents will be $25 a ton, effective March 1.

Previously, those rates were $16 a ton.

Solid waste for residents also will increase from $10 a ton to $20 a ton.

Minimum fees, which are loads of 300 pounds and less, will be $5.

Non-county resident fees, which are higher than resident fees, were all raised across the board.

The rate increase will help to offset a 50 percent revenue loss at the landfill because the landfill no longer receives revenues from property taxes.

Moffat County Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos said she thought it was important that the landfill become an enterprise fund.

"We need to look at more revenue generating departments," Raftopoulos said. "It shouldn't be taken from the general fund. We're looking at less tax revenues and we have to look at some of these departments to generate more revenue."

Landfill Manager Eric Johnson said the raises that will go into effect March 1 will help but will still not put the landfill in an enterprise fund category.

He said rates would probably have to increase to about $35 or $40.

"If we're talking about an enterprise fund in the future, I'm going to come back with a rate increase every year," he said.

Moffat County Commissioner Les Hampton said he thought it would be better if the landfill gradually increases fees.

"If we drive this up too fast the trash in the county is going to end up in the ditch somewhere," he said.

Les Liman, president of the Twin Landfill Corporation, which operates the Milner landfill, attended the meeting to voice his support for a rate increase in Moffat County.

"My interest is to have the rates as high as they can be because I don't like having government-subsidized competition down the road," he said of the Moffat County Landfill. "Without a doubt I think Moffat County is moving in the right direction."

Resident Tony St. John said he supported a decision to raise fees.

"I appreciate your $2.50 fee," St. John told the commissioners. "But I can handle a $5 fee. It's something that has to be done, so let's just get it done. People do not like change but it has to come. Do it so you have the money you need to run that place. I have no problem paying what I need so you folks can stay in business."

While the decision to raise fees got by with little to no debate, closing the landfill on Sundays was another issue.

Employees from the landfill, concerned about the possibility of a full-time job being cut if the landfill is closed on Sundays, attended the meeting to voice their disapproval.

"I was in this office a year ago talking about the same things," said landfill scale house operator Nick Rubley. "If you raise rates, cut Sundays and get rid of an employee you're not serving the public."

Commissioner Darryl Steele, said he was concerned that the county was willing to cut a position at the landfill but was not willing to make cutbacks in other county departments. He was making reference to several proposals he had made to cut positions in the Human Resources Department, Natural Resources Department and emergency medical services.

"I'm concerned about the county cutting someone's job when we're not willing to cut jobs up here that are making $50,000," he said. "If we're not willing to make the cuts up here but are willing to cut someone's job who is doing the work, that concerns me. We're sending the wrong message to our employees if we do this."

But Raftopoulos said the intent was not to cut a position.

"We've been looking at this issue for more than a year," Raftopoulos said. "We don't want to lay someone off unless it's done by attrition. Our intent is not to lay off a person. The intent is to find the best solution to a scheduling problem."

The landfill has lost more than $5,000 by remaining open on Sundays since last April.

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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