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52% BELIEVE DUMP FEE IS TOO HIGH

SHARE 52% BELIEVE DUMP FEE IS TOO HIGH

Just over half of Davis County residents believe the $7 fee to dump trash at the Davis Energy Recovery District's citizen facility is too high, according to a poll by Dan Jones & Associates.

Of the 400 residents polled, 52 percent said the fee was definitely or probably too high. Only 38 percent said it was "about the right amount" in the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent. Two percent said it was probably or definitely too low."It doesn't surprise me," LeGrand W. Bitter, Davis Energy Recovery District director, said of the poll result. "They (the residents) had paid less than that in the past."

Bitter said the district had a high subsidy in the past when citizens could dump for free. Today's $7 fee is right in line with the market, he said.

The district board, composed of representatives from each city, set the current fee.

Bitter said Salt Lake County also charges a $7 citizen dump fee, while Weber County has a universal $20 per ton dumping fee for everyone at its landfill.

He said the $7 fee is actually a bargain because if the fee were in line or pro-rated with the standard tipping fee of $62 a ton, citizens would be paying almost three times more - $20 a load.

The district has been hit lately with a swarm of federal mandates to control pollution that could total more than $20 million in the coming years. The district is maximizing its revenue to compensate and can no longer afford free dumping.

The Dan Jones poll also asked about annual spring and fall cleanups, and 93 percent of the respondents believe cities should sponsor them.

"Cleanups are important," Bitter said, "But the days of free dumping no longer exist."

In the past, the burn plant allowed not only free dumping by citizens, but cities also could dump for free during annual cleanup periods. Today, citizens pay $5 a load during cleanups and cities pay half the standard tipping fee.

Clearfield is continuing its two annual cleanups, and they are written in the city's new contract with its waste hauler. However, some other cities are struggling with the higher costs of the cleanups.

Syracuse didn't have a fall cleanup this year.

"It's a cost issue," said Kathy Holt, deputy city recorder. "And the council opted not to have one."

The city's new garbage hauling contract does not include cleanups, but Holt said the council may examine the issue again this February.

West Point is in the same situation, according to Diane R. Moss, city recorder. She said some citizens take too much advantage of the cleanups, and in light of higher dumping costs, it is a real financial burden to a city, despite the public service.

Steve Ashby, Layton director of finance, said Layton has never had spring and fall cleanups. Civic groups used to sponsor ones, though.

"It's mainly a cost issue. . . . It's just the expense," Ashby said.

The Energy Recovery District did come up with one free dumping offer, though. Through Jan. 21, citizens can discard their non-artificial Christmas trees at the burn plant for free.

The district will use a wood chipper to chop the trees up for future use along the roadside leading to the plant for weed control and beautification.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Davis County poll

In your opinion, is the $7 fee to dump waste at the Davis burn plant's public facility too high, too low or just about right?

DEFINITELY TOO HIGH 32%

PROBABLY TOO HIGH 20%

ABOUT THE RIGHT AMOUNT 38%

PROBABLY TOO LOW 1%

DEFINITELY TOO LOW 1%

DON'T KNOW 8%

Should cities in Davis County sponsor annual spring and fall cleanups and collect additional yard waste?

DEFINITELY 79%

PROBABLY 14%

PROBABLY NOT 4%

DEFINITELY NOT 1%

DON'T KNOW 1%

Poll conducted Dec. 5-10, 1994. Margin of error +/-5% on interviews of 400 registered voters. Conducted by Dan Jones & Associates. Copyright 1994 Deseret News. Dan Jones & Associates, an independent organization founded in 1980, polls for the Deseret News and KSL. Its clients include other organizations and some political candidates.