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Automated garbage collection will begin here this fall, but residents will also face a 24 percent rise in garbage fees when this service begins - with half of that increase coming because of automation.

Steve Ashby, Layton director of finance, said the city signed a contract for automated service with Roche and Sons Disposal - the city's current solid waste hauler - earlier this month. The special garbage containers and new trucks have now been ordered, and Ashby predicted automated pickup could begin as soon as late September or early October."This is a very good contract from the city point of view," Ashby said, explaining it's a five-year contract with an additional three-year renewable option.

Once automated service begins, monthly fees will increase from $10.20 to $12.70 per month. However, Ashby said only $1.23 of that fee is actually caused by automated service. The other half is caused by other cost increases - including the burn plant's tipping fee increase from $59 to $62 a ton last July. The city has held off on various garbage cost increases, pending the start of automated service.

Ashby said manual collection costs - particularly because of back injuries among garbage collectors - is on the rise and the city would have been forced to raise rates this year even if it stayed with the old service.

The actual cost of the automated containers has been figured into the monthly bill over a period of years and so residents will not pay for them outright.

Having additional garbage containers will cost $5 a month. Small businesses can have up to two containers. If more than two are not sufficient, the city will request the business use a commercial garbage hauler.

Ashby said manual collection is on the way out and the only other city in Davis County still using it is Fruit Heights.

Advantages cited by Ashby for automated collection include animals being less likely to raid the cans and a cleaner city. He said the new contract strictly requires the collector to maintain equipment, meaning less vehicle fluid spills on the street.