San Juan County Commission approves policy to encourage recycling at county landfill

by David Boyle
News Director
Members of the San Juan County Commission approved a landfill metal recycling program, approved grants for internet hotspot services, and approved contracts for Navajo translation services for upcoming city and town elections at their latest meeting.
At their October 3 meeting, members of the county commission approved a Landfill Employee Recycling Incentive program.
Implementation of the program will save space in the county landfill, while also earning revenue for the county and creating a bonus for landfill employees. 
County landfill manager Jed Tate explained that the program will have landfill employees pull recyclable metal from refuse and garbage dropped at the landfill prior to being covered.
Tate said that when employees currently have the time or notice recyclable metal in the garbage, the will get off their equipment and place the metals in a recycling pile. 
County employees gathered recyclable metals for several years before selling 309 tons of mixed metal and 3,300 pounds of copper for more than $38,000 in 2022. 
In the one year since, another haul has brought in over $20,000 so far in 2023.
The program proposal will see a 60/40 revenue split with employees, with the county landfill retaining 60 percent of the revenue bonus from the metal sale and the employees keeping 40 percent as an incentive bonus. Had the program been in place at the beginning of 2022, it would have resulted in a $2,000 bonus for the four county landfill employees.
The program will require employees to strip plastic or casing from the metal and are required to follow all health and safety guidelines.
The program has been implemented at other landfills. The county notes that the program will save space in the landfill while also providing extra income for the operations of the landfill. The commissioners approved the program unanimously.
At the meeting, members of the commission also unanimously approved contracts to provide language translation services at the upcoming municipal elections. 
In 2018, a settlement agreement related to Navajo resident voting rights was reached between the Navajo Nation and San Juan County. At the October 3 meeting, County Administrator Mack McDonald explained that recent communications with the US Department of Justice alerted the county to the fact that the requirement to provide Navajo language translation services includes municipal elections.
Members of the commission unanimously approved contracts to provide Navajo translations of election materials, as well as early voting and election day translation services.
McDonald noted that the requirement is applicable to all municipalities.
“This’ll be kind of a surprise to the municipalities because we will pass on the costs to them,’ said McDonald.
“Because it all falls under San Juan County it is also a requirement of those cities and towns to make sure that they provide that information to our residents.”
Municipal elections in Bluff, Blanding, and Monticello are scheduled for November 21.
At the meeting, members of the commission also approved grants including a $38,000 annual grant from the State of Utah Office for Victims of Crime Services.
The grant will be used for the Utah Victim Services Program to help guide victims of crimes through the legal process.
The commission also approved a grant from the Utah Office of Tourism of $212,500 toward San Juan County 2024 Marketing and Branding. The grant will be matched by county Transient Room Tax funds.
County Economic and Visitor Services Director Elaine Gizler explained she is advocating for additional funding from the state.
Gizler also noted that the county will be looking to participate with Gouldings to promote events to celebrate their 100-year anniversary next year.
Commissioners were favorable of that work with Commissioner Bruce Adams saying he would help advocate for state funding to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Gouldings in Monument Valley.
Members of the commission also approved a grant to help fund the county library hotspot service. County Library Director Nicole Perkins noted the popular program makes internet services available for county library users and is particularly popular in the Montezuma Creek branch.
Members of the commission also approved the use of $8,300 for a preliminary design proposal for a low-water crossing near Montezuma Creek. County road director TJ Adair explained the crossing on County Road 347, known as the Perkins Crossing, is needed as significant flows of runoff can make the area unpassable. 
Adair noted that a winter like last year could be particularly challenging to the area. With the reservoirs upstream starting the Spring near full rather than empty, there could be little ability to control flooding during a wet winter.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday