Taylorsville garbage and recycling rates could soon be going up
Oct 06, 2017 08:45AM
● By Carl Fauver
Curbside Christmas tree pickup is an annual service provided by Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling. (WFW&RD)
Taylorsville residents may soon see a 15 percent fee increase for garbage and recyclable collection, the third such increase in six years.
Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling District officials have asked their administrative control board to approve the fee hike—from $14.75 to $17 per month—after a similar request to the board was rejected last year.
“Unfortunately, our costs continue to go up and our budget is being stretched tight,” said WFW&RD Executive Director Pam Roberts. “We take pride in the service we provide and don’t want that level of service to suffer. We also hope residents remember, fees are the only source of revenues the district has. No tax dollars are spent on garbage and recycling collection.”
A fee increase would impact the mandatory black (garbage) and blue (recycling) cans. No fee increase is being recommended for the small percentage of residents participating in the green (yard waste) recycling program.
“I don’t want to see our costs go up, but I think maybe the budget has been stretched about as far as it can go,” said Taylorsville City Councilwoman Dama Barbour, who represents the city on the WFW&RD administrative control board. “I know my residents don’t want to see any further cuts in service.”
Barbour is one of 14 elected officials on the control board, representing all of the areas served by WFW&RD. The district serves 82,500 households, including 13,700 in Taylorsville.
Until the city of Millcreek incorporated this year, Taylorsville was the largest city served by the district. Others include Cottonwood Heights, Holladay, Herriman, parts of Sandy and Murray and several smaller metro townships (Kearns, Magna, Copperton, White City and Immigration Canyon).
If the increase is approved, it will represent a near doubling of WFW&RD fees over the past decade, from $9 per month in 2006 to $17 per month, starting next year.
“During that time, we also introduced the weekly recycling (blue can) program,” Roberts added.
Last year’s board decision not to raise fees impacted WFW&RD customers primarily through the popular area cleanup program. Since 2003, each year the district has placed large (14-cubic yard), white containers in front of homes, where residents can throw large items out.
“Normally, we like to place one container for every seven homes,” Roberts said. “But because of our tight budget, this year we had to reduce that to one container for every nine or 10 homes.”
Barbour said her constituents noticed.
“I received a lot of calls from residents complaining the containers filled too fast,” she said. “And (district employees) did not dump them and return them to the same locations like they have often done in the past.”
District officials said their tight budget has also forced them to not replace trucks and equipment as quickly as they normally have.
“The problem with that is that the district sells their used trucks to smaller cities,” Barbour said. “If they get too many miles on them, it hurts the resale value. So it’s a constant challenge.”
In addition to the mandatory garbage and recycling cans, WFW&RD also provides optional green (yard waste) and gray (glass) recycling cans, for an additional fee. However, so far very few customers are adding those services. Only 680 Taylorsville residents have added this service, and only 5,000 have throughout the district.
“I don’t think there are enough people using the green waste cans,” Barbour said. “But it’s controversial. We have it, but even our house is divided. My husband pays the bills and is not a big fan of the added cost.”
While some other Salt Lake Valley municipalities have made green waste recycling cans mandatory, WFW&RD has not.
“The board has discussed it,” the councilwoman said. “But there’s never been any strong push to require residents to pay for the green cans.”
Barbour did close with some complimentary words about the Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling District, and Roberts.
“I think it is a very well-run organization,” she said. “Pam is very conscientious about making customer service their No. 1 priority and keeping fees down as much as possible. The board will review their numbers (regarding the proposed rate increase). If they show it can’t really be avoided this year, I’ll probably have to support it.”