Officials say city won't subsidize tire business

Craig resident Donald Griffin on Tuesday night accused city officials of discriminating against him after they refused to dispose of the more than 600 tires stacked behind his Victory Way business.

Discussion gave way to heated argument at the Craig City Council meeting when Griffin, who owns Jim's Tire and Auto, said the city should have accepted his tires during Clean-up Days in May. During Clean-up Days, the city collected tires and appliances from residents and disposed of them at no charge.

"You allowed businesses to dump tires and then said no tire businesses," he said. "To me that's discrimination. You're discriminating against me as a certain business owner."

Griffin argued that taking his tires to the county landfill would not have cost the city anything since it could have done so free of charge on Clean-up Days.

The Craig City Council met Tuesday night. Council members took the following actions:

• Renewal of a tavern liquor license for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Club, 419 E. Victory Way.

• Approval of the final plat of the Tri-Star Subdivision on Ninth Street across from Sloan Circle.

• Unanimously approved Ordinance 951, which adopts the 2006 budget.

• Unanimously approved Ordinance 952, which sets the amount Washington Street residents will repay the city for paving a portion of the street and installing sidewalks. The residents formed an improvement district.

• Signed a proclamation honoring Jim Evans, who's retiring at the end of the year as the executive director of Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, a lobbying group.

It costs $3 to dump a tire at the Moffat County Landfill. Griffin estimates he would have to pay between $1,600 to $2,400 to dispose of the tires at the landfill.

Councilor Joe Herod said tire businesses could pass such costs on to customers, something Griffin conceded he does when he remembers to.

"As a business owner that's your business. You ought to get rid of your own tires," Mayor Don Jones said.

The city's program is meant to help residents clean up their property, not subsidize businesses, council members told Griffin.

"We didn't set up that day for any business to reap the benefits of it," Councilor Bill Johnston said.

Then why, Griffin asked, did the city allow other businesses to bring their tires? He cited examples of ranchers who took truckloads of tires to the city's collection point.

"If you're allowing any business to dump tires, you're subsidizing them," Griffin said.

The difference, city Finance Director Bruce Nelson said, is that other businesses aren't in a position to pass the cost of tire disposal on to their customers.

Griffin was issued a citation this month for his tire pile. He faces a fine ranging from $50 to $300. Griffin said he didn't go before the council to argue the citation. Still, he argued that if the city had accepted his tires in May, he would have never gotten the citation.

"I believe the intent of Clean-up Days is to clean up Craig," he said.

Johnston said city officials would look at the issue next year to make sure that the rules set are consistent but that the city wouldn't dispose of Griffin's tires now, nor would it in the future.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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