Down in the dumps
Businesses could pay more in trash fees
City residents may not be affected by the county’s decision to increase landfill fees, but businesses will be.
City officials still are crunching the numbers, but current rates for trash service likely won’t cover the increase in dumping costs, said Road and Bridge Department Director Randy Call.
“I know we’ll have to pass something on,” he said. “Residential rates may be OK, but commercial ones won’t be.”
On Dec. 6, Moffat County Commissioners voted to inc–rease landfill fees for residential, municipal and commercial dumping to $30 a ton from $25 a ton.
The increase goes into effect April 1, marking the second increase in 16 months.
The county’s last fee change — a 36 percent increase — went into effect Jan. 1.
Commissioners raised rates to offset the more than $200,000 the county expects to contribute to subsidize landfill operations in 2006.
Nearly 60 percent of the 17,000 tons of trash dumped at the landfill each year comes from the city, making it the facility’s biggest customer, said Linda DeRose, county Road and Bridge Department manager.
The city’s sanitation department serves nearly 2,800 residential customers and more than 300 businesses.
In January, the city increased trash rates, the first rate hike in seven years, in response to the county’s increase that same month.
The city increased the landfill surcharge to $5 from $2.50 for residential customers. The city raised the fee for commercial dumping to $2 from $1.
Through November, the city collected $59,764 more in residential landfill fees than it paid because of its Jan. 1 increase.
But what the city charges commercial customers didn’t generate as much revenue. Commercial trash is generally heavier and costs more to dump, Call said.
“We need to see the final tonnage, but seeing as how it won’t happen until April 1, we’re not getting excited,” Call said.
He said city officials have enough notice to be able to calculate the fairest way to pass on the increase.
Although the amount the city pays is based on the weight of trash it takes to the landfill, customers are billed at a rate based on the number of times a container is emptied.
Call said it is too soon to speculate about how much more businesses may have to pay in dumping fees.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Routt County is working with both Rio Blanco and Moffat counties and municipalities across northwestern Colorado to create an umbrella organization to better coordinate and pursue economic development in the region.