Officials: Change in landfill fees designed to encourage cleanup

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

City residents will be able to take small loads of solid waste to the landfill free of charge under guidelines clarified Wednesday by the Public Works Committee.

The change is effective immediately and is designed, in part, to encourage cleanup in the community.

The committee decided city residents may dump solid waste at the landfill free of charge that is contained in a pickup truck or single-axle trailer no longer than 10 feet.

All other loads of waste and those that are obviously commercial will be pro-rated by individual weight at $26 a ton, City Manager Joe Thomas said.

Proof of city residency will be required and while no limits were set, the committee instructed landfill employees to watch carefully for abuse.

The measure is intended to act as a stop-gap until a city revenue review takes place in August, at which time rate changes could be considered, Thomas said.

The review of all city fees takes place every two years.

City Engineer Justin Howalt said the landfill does not receive any revenue from garbage collection fees from residents and approximately $1 million in trash that could have been charged for last year, wasn’t.

“It’s all being eaten up by the collection side of the operation, the landfill isn’t realizing any of it,” Howalt said.

“What we’re providing is a service and anybody who’s using it should pay for it; It should be paid for through fees, not taxes… Something’s got to cover the cost of operating that landfill.”

To adequately cover both garbage collection and the processing of landfill dumping, rate payers should actually be charged approximately $50 a quarter — $25 of which should go just to the collection side, he said.

For the last 10 years, the city has subsidized the landfill with money from gross receipts taxes, Commissioner Randy Crowder said.

He said there are 13,0000 residents paying garbage rates of about $30 every three months generating an average of 2.5 tons of garbage, per household, per year.

The city is in the process of reaffirming its 20-year permit with the EPA —