Landfill rates may increase
by Rhett Sifford
San Juan County residents have an opportunity to voice their opinion regarding a proposed fee increase at the San Juan County Landfill and all county transfer stations and drop box locations.
The San Juan County Commission will hold a public meeting at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 7 at the Hideout Community Center in Monticello to hear public comment on the proposed increase.
According to the proposal, the cost to dispose any load of commercial/construction trash at the landfill will increase 47 percent, from $30 to $44 a ton. Negotiated rates at drop box locations will also increase by 47 percent over current rates.
A load of commercial trash received at any transfer station location will increase from $6 to $13.21 a cubic yard. The landfill also proposed a fee increase on its “call out” services: from $156 to $308 in La Sal, from $82 to $159 in Monticello, from $28 to $65 in Blanding, from $28 to $67 in Bluff, and from $72 to $148 in Mexican Hat.
County Landfill Manager Randy Rarick said the proposed fee increase is a necessity. He explains that during 25 years of operation, the landfill should have closed waste cells as they became full, but this was not accomplished.
Now the landfill needs new cells and must develop five additional acres. This requires $350,000 within nine months to continue operating.
Rarick said another factor contributing to the fee increase proposal is old equipment at the landfill. He estimates the cost of much-needed replacement to be more than $2 million.
Rarick said the landfill has reduced expenses by 20 percent over the last two years and is operating more efficiently, but auditors found it is not generating enough revenue.
Rarick reports that due to operating costs, the landfill lost $400,000 over the last seven years. According to the 2017 audit, the landfill operates “significantly over budget.”
Rarick said the landfill rates have been outdated for some time. The current rates have been in place for eleven years.
The cities of Monticello and Blanding drafted letters in response to the landfill proposal stating that the proposed fee increase “will trigger rate increases to San Juan County residents…that will be difficult to bear and may cause additional unintended consequences.”
The letters add that the fee increase may cause the closure of the Monticello and Blanding transfer stations, which could result in increased illegal dumping and trash burning by residents.
If accepted by the county, the landfill fee increase will take effect on October 1. For more information regarding the proposal, e-mail Rarick at email@example.com