With the environmental clock ticking, the Trans Jordan Landfill Board remains locked in a boundary dispute with South Jordan about the terms under which the landfill can expand.
After two months of meetings and correspondence, the landfill board has rejected the terms by which South Jordan said it would allow the 45-year-old landfill to complete a critical expansion. The action last week brought to a head South Jordan officials' frustration over the issue and drew attention from south valley mayors concerned about an impending crisis at the site where several communities dump their trash, including South Jordan.Landfill officials announced last week they want to disconnect the property from South Jordan city limits. But South Jordan City Administrator Dave Millheim said the city will not consider letting go of the property. "The answer, unequivocably, is no."
The next round in discussions takes place Thursday when the two parties and other officials from south valley cities are scheduled to meet.
"We're troubled that this is taking so long," said Byron Jorgenson, Sandy's top administrator. "One way or another, we need to move this along."
In a year to 14 months, the Trans Jordan Landfill at 10600 S. 7250 West will be full. It is governed by a board made up of representatives from the four cities that own and manage the business: Midvale, Murray, Sandy and West Jordan.
In preparation for a necessary expansion, the board last summer bought adjacent property and wants to expand across South Jordan's borders onto 90 acres that would provide 20 to 25 additional years of garbage collection on the site.
A letter from Murray City Attorney Craig Hall, attorney for the landfill board, said the landfill will file a petition to disconnect, or deannex the property from South Jordan.
"I would hope that this matter can be solved without acrimony. However, my clients are intent on protecting their 45-year investment," Hall's letter stated.
Hall said Tuesday he could not comment on the negotiations.
Millheim said, "We believe we have been negotiating in good faith and were extremely disgusted and disappointed at the response."
After an exhaustive environmental study of the area and numerous meetings with attorneys and engineers, South Jordan officials proposed that the landfill board annex all of 180 acres of landfill property into the city so the business would not be subject to two political jurisdictions. The annexation would be consistent with the city's Master Plan, the proposal, stated.
Other details of the proposal letter, sent Aug. 3, includes:
- That South Jordan get a preferred tipping rate.
- The two parties study how to appropriately close and maintain the landfill when it's full.
- That future uses for the land (after capping) be outlined as these details about closing the landfill are nailed down.
- That, after successful closure, South Jordan gets the option to use the property for a period of time and purpose determined by the city.
The issue came up at a Sandy City Council meeting Tuesday, when Chief Administrative Officer Byron Jorgenson brought the council up-to-date and said the landfill board wasn't willing to annex its property, much of which is now in unincorporated Salt Lake County.
But Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan expressed concern that the letter rejecting South Jordan's proposal was written without input from mayors of the four member cities. He said he'd like to discuss the issue with the other mayors before Thursday's meeting.
South Jordan City Councilman Jack Peck who attended Tuesday's meeting on another issue, attempted to diffuse the impact of the South Jordan proposal by calling it a "negotiating letter," not an "end-all letter."
"Our council still would like to talk," Peck said.