Blanding city council talks solid waste rate increase, possible transportation master plan

The Blanding City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting last week and discussed several agenda items including a possible solid waste increase at the Blanding transfer station. Rate increases at the county landfill are scheduled to go into effect on Nov. 1. Prior to the solid waste agenda item, the council discussed the possibility of a need for a transportation master plan.
Scoot Flannery with Jones and Demille Engineering gave a brief presentation to the council about a transportation master plan possibility for Blanding. Councilman Logan Shumway questioned whether or not a new transportation master plan is even needed, or if the council can come up with a priority list of transportation projects with the tools and maps they currently have.
“I don’t know what the other needs are besides preserving the corridors,” Shumway said before the council and Flannery. “We do need to prioritize.”
Flannery pointed out to Shumway and the council that if a prospective builder wants to come into San Juan County and build in their desired location, there is nothing documented telling that prospective builder where future corridors will be. This is something that Flannery felt could be a concern, inhibiting future growth of the town.
“There are no property lines on there – nothing showing any relation to anything else,” Flannery said.
Mayor Joe Lyman pointed out that one of the main driving factors in the discussion was the likelihood of any of the potential corridors being developed in the next ten years.
“The question that drives that would be what is the likelihood of any of those proposed roads being built in the next 10 years,” Lyman said in response to the question if a priority project list needs to be made. “If four or five of them could possibly be built in the next 10 years then yeah,” Lyman said. “If we’re looking at them and we go, ‘I see absolutely no reason why any of those roads extending out from the community are going to be built over the next 10 years,’ maybe we don’t need to be so worried about prioritizing just yet.”
Ultimately the council decided to consider a scaled down version of a transportation master plan and discuss it at their next business meeting on Oct. 23.
The next agenda item was the solid waste increase discussion item, or “let’s talk trash” as it was introduced jokingly by Kim Palmer.
“So you’re aware that the county raised their landfill rates, effective Nov. 1,” Palmer said. “It went up about 47 percent if I remember right. Delivery costs went up. When they did that, then it just kind of trickles on down to us. We met with Waste Management and had a discussion with them and we knew kind of where that was going because they’re affected by that same increase. So we got the letter that they will be increasing the rates.”
City Manager Jeremy Redd gave Waste Management some credit despite the rate increase, saying that they could have just pushed all the rate increase on to the city but they did not. He said that the city pushed them pretty hard to make them realize that the city and Waste Management are partners on this deal and that what was mutually beneficial for both entities was the best route.  
“They could have done that,” Redd said of Waste Management’s ability to push all of the rate increase on to the city.
“And it looks like the dollar and seven cents is pretty reasonable from what it could have been.”
Palmer reiterated that the city and Waste Management are kind of partnering on some things to ensure that costs are kept down and the revenue that is needed to cover the costs is there so the city is not always perpetually asking for money to cover some of the costs of solid waste removal.
A flyer will be arriving in Blanding City residences next month, encouraging citizens to put their trash cans out on the street and fill just one can. There is an additional charge associated with an extra trash can.
Extra trash cans have been delivered to some residences that were repeat offenders and the city has contacted those individuals to inform them why another trash can has been delivered to their house and that there will be an additional charge for that extra can. None of the additional cans that have been delivered have been returned by residents.
“The landfill charges went up 44 percent,” Redd said. “The amount they charge us to pick up our transfer station went up 66 percent. That went up even more than the other costs and we knew that was what was proposed.”
Palmer presented the council with three options for rate increases to help generate more revenue now that there is a rate increase for everybody.
“We talked about just closing the transfer station. But then we are going to see much more of the illegal dumping, more burning, more stuff just stacked in your yard until you need a semi load to haul down there,” Palmer said. “Do we want that, or is there something to say for having a little convenience for the residents?”
The council decided to direct Palmer and Redd to put together a list of their best options for a rate increase to cover some of the cost increases throughout the county and decide at their next regularly scheduled business meeting.

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