Craig City Council raises landfill fee; no decision on April 2 election | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig City Council raises landfill fee; no decision on April 2 election

Joe Bird, second from right, has submitted his petition to become mayor of Craig. He will face incumbent Mayor John Ponikvar, second from left, in the April 2 municipal election.

CRAIG — Craig residents will soon be paying new landfill fees after Craig City Council adopted a new fee schedule during its meeting Tuesday, Jan. 22. Council members also discussed potential plans to conduct the April 2 municipal election, which has been thrown into doubt due to training needs at the Moffat County Clerk and Recorder’s office.

After a public comment period on recreational marijuana legalization inside Craig, council moved to increase the landfill fee from $40 to $45. Mayor John Ponikvar said the rate had to be raised after the Moffat County Board of County Commissioners increased fees at the county landfill.

Craig City Manager Peter Brixius said the city ships between 7,000 and 10,000 tons of trash to the landfill each year, an amount that has been increasing every year since 2017. He added the last time Craig's solid waste department had to increase fees was in 2009.

"That's a big part of why it's necessary," Brixius said of the increasing the landfill fee. "We're experiencing increased cost."

Council also began exploring plans to hold the municipal election in April after news broke that newly elected County Clerk and Recorder Tammy Raschke wasn't certified in the SCORE system and was thus unable to conduct the municipal election.

Raschke is currently undergoing the required training, but it is unclear if she will have completed it in time to conduct the upcoming election.

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On Tuesday, council members passed a resolution authorizing City Clerk Liz White and City Attorney Sherman Romney to explore the best way to conduct the April election. According to Romney, the city could work with the state to expedite Raschke's training so she could conduct the election as usual.

Other options were also discussed. The city could partner with the county or another entity and contract for the use of voting machines, or it could conduct the election itself and hand-count the ballots.

Under the best of circumstances, Romney said, the election will likely cost tens of thousands of dollars.

"They usually operate in the $15,000 to $25,000 range," Romney said Tuesday.

Ponikvar said the April election issues weren’t due to any equipment, or lack thereof.

"The big issue isn't the equipment," Ponikvar said. "It's the people who run the equipment. They have to be certified."

Ponikvar added it's possible taxpayers could see some savings, depending on which option is chosen with regard to the April election.

"Some of the options we're looking at, we might actually save some money compared to years past," Ponikvar said.

Contact Clay Thorp at 970-875-1795 or cthorp@CraigDailyPress.com.