Craig residents likely to see fees at landfill increase

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A county decision to raise landfill rates will affect all city residents.

But, even if the county doesn't act on a proposal to increase tipping fees, Craig residents likely will see a hike in their bills.

The city has taken a $1,000- to $6,000-a-month loss in what it pays to provide trash service for the past 18 months because it didn't pass the last fee increase on to customers.

Now, it has to.

"We can't keep dipping into our reserves," Road and Bridge Department Director Randy Call said.

The county raised landfill fees from $16 a ton to $22.50 a ton a year and a half ago and is now considering a proposal to increase rates to $25 a ton.

"We'll be looking at our rates anyway," City Manager Jim Ferree said.

The city's last solid waste rate increase was in 1998 when landfill prices for the city changed from free to $16 a ton. It's been absorbing the last increase since.

The county, too, is working to establish a reserve. Moffat County Commissioner Darryl Steele said a new cell is constructed at the landfill every two years at a cost of $200,000 each. Steele said the revenue collected from increased fees would go into a fund that would be used to construct new cells.

County officials are working to schedule a public hearing on the proposed increases.

"One reason we started to talk about this now is to give users the chance to put this in their budgets now so we don't blindside them and force them to eat into their budgets," Steele said.

The city's fees account for approximately 70 percent of the landfill's revenues.

But, the city and its residents won't be the only ones affected. Everyone who uses the landfill faces higher fees.

Residents who fill a truck bed with garbage and take it to the landfill pay $5. Under the proposed fee structure, that will increase to $6. The cost for dumping car and truck tires will go from $3 to $4, and semi tires will be $8 each.

Nonresident rates will increase from $10 to $12 and the cost for other municipalities or non-resident commercial waste will double.

Steele said the increased fees likely will not pay the entire cost of building a new cell, but it will help.

The county budgeted to collect $360,000 in revenue from the landfill this year against expenditures of $437,797. That did not include building a new cell.

He expects actual numbers to be available by the time a public hearing is held, likely within two weeks.

It will take a little longer for the city to evaluate its fee structure and recommend increases.

"We've got a lot of numbers to crunch before we come up with what it will be," Call said.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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