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No rate decrease in burn-plant budget
Board also rejects recycling program but will study issue

FARMINGTON -- Wasatch Energy Systems, operator of the Davis and Morgan burn plant and landfill, rejected proposals for the new fiscal year budget to decrease fees or to begin a recycling program.

However, its district board promised to make committee assignments at its next meeting July 7 to look at those issues in greater detail.The board unanimously approved its $18.4 million budget for 1999-2000 Wednesday night without any major changes.

"I'm not saying we can't look at a (fee) reduction," board chairman and Layton Mayor Jerry Stevenson, said.

He also said if the public really wants a recycling program in the district it can be organized, though it will not operate for free. He said rate reductions and recycling programs tend to be mutually exclusive.

Joseph Salas of Layton said he wants to see rate decreases for garbage disposal because rates are too high.

Bob Call of Layton agreed. "The thing people want to see most is a rate decrease," he said.

He also believes residents want a recycling program regardless of the cost.

Christy Blanch of Farmington, a high school student, told the board she believes recycling can work and that it doesn't have to make a profit.

"It's a humanitarian effort," she said. "If residents want to do it, then do it. I know you can afford it."

David Putnam Jr. of Centerville also told the board he wants recycling.

Mark Graham of Layton began a long presentation to the district calling for a 10 percent rate reduction for residents. He also addressed other issues ranging from Environmental Protection Agency concerns to allowing more public comment at board meetings.

"We have been over this with Mr. Graham," Stevenson told the board.

The Layton City Council joined other Davis County cities to seek a resident fee reduction.

However, Stevenson said he and the council are not at odds. "It's timing more than anything else," he said.

The district had to balance its new budget with almost $1 million less in revenue from Hill Air Force Base for its steam purchases because its contract was renegotiated. Also, Wasatch suffered another $400,000 loss in revenue from interest income because it used excess money to refinance its bonds.

"We need to stay the course," board member Brian D. Cook of Kaysville said, explaining he wants the district's bond debt paid off before any rate reductions are implemented.

County Commissioner Carol Page, another board member, said refinancing the bonds has saved the district $3 million and believes that alone will lead to future rate reductions.

Michael Barton, the board member from Centerville, suggested the board use its committees to look at a possible future rate reduction.