County should have junk ordinance
December 6, 2001
Local, state and federal governments spend taxpayer dollars on many assistance programs, but maid service shouldn’t be one of them. But, that’s exactly what some Moffat County residents are asking for when discussing how the county should deal with property covered with junk.
Sue Graler, a representative from the Junk Ordinance Committee and the director of the Moffat County Planning Department reported Monday that some residents want incentives for cleaning up their property as opposed to adopting a countywide junk ordinance.
The Moffat County Commissioners are being asked to provide more free days for their clean-up campaign than the three that are already offered. Residents say they’ll clean up their property if they can use the landfill for free the only amenity offered during the clean-up campaign in May.
Offering residents free use of the landfill is not a fiscally responsible decision. A landfill use fee puts the burden of paying for a service on the people who use it instead of putting it on people who use it rarely or not at all.
State and federal regulations make running a landfill expensive. Landfill fees don’t come close to meeting the debt obligation of landfill operation. Offering free use of the landfill will impose a bigger financial burden on county coffers that are already suffering from a revenue shortfall.
And, lets face it, the county has already made the landfill inexpensive and accessible to county residents. A person pays $2.50 to dump a regular truckload at the landfill or $16 a ton.
Some people might not have the physical resources to clean up their property or to haul junk. Those people should be given every assistance available, but those lacking physical resources are few in number.
If crafted carefully, a junk ordinance will not hurt the people who have a desire to clean their property. Only people who do not want to clean up their junk are opposed to a junk ordinance.
Residents have resoundingly, through the November 2001 election and community surveys, said they want Moffat County to be a more attractive place. Residents have ranked the entrances to the city of Craig as top priorities in a clean-up effort, and those include a dilapidated drive-in theater, automobile junkyards and trash-filled lots. The city of Craig enacted a junk ordinance, but many of the locations residents have asked the city to address are located out of the city limits. Which means, if residents want a cleaner community, the county needs to enact a junk ordinance.
Property rights aren’t the only issue at hand. This is also a financial issue. Junk-littered properties devalue neighboring lots and discourage economic development.