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Cut likely in Davis trash fees
Most city leaders support efforts to roll back assessments

LAYTON -- City administrators don't generally get involved in affairs outside their municipalities. However, Layton City Manager Alex Jensen has made an exception with Wasatch Energy Systems and its garbage disposal fees.

When he started his quest for lower rates last winter, the reception was chilly. But just like the weather, things have warmed up since.Now it isn't a question of if rates will be reduced but rather when and how much.

Jensen organized a meeting at Layton City Hall on June 23 with all area city managers and mayors invited, along with the staff of Wasatch, which operates the burn plant and landfill for Davis and Morgan counties.

"It went well," Jensen reported. "We had a good discussion with the staff."

He didn't take roll, so he's not sure how much of the special service district was represented. However, he said the approximately two dozen city officials in attendance showed strong support for a rate reduction from the current $10 per month household fee.

Apparently many city officials agree with Jensen, and he said only one mayor at the meeting wanted to be cautious so rates weren't lowered now only to be raised again in the near future.

Jensen, who has the support of the City Council, has put Layton Mayor Jerry Stevenson in a difficult position, since he's also chairman for the administrative board of Wasatch Energy.

"Mayor Stevenson was there wearing two hats," Jensen said.

Stevenson's most recent comment on the rate reduction is that it should be meaningful -- more than just cents -- a dollar or so.

Jensen predicts any rate reduction is three to six months away because the effort now has to start at Wasatch in its finance committee discussions.

More will likely be said on the issue at the monthly Wasatch meeting July 7 at 5 p.m. at the Davis County Courthouse.

Jensen feels a $1 reduction is reasonable and given the recent surpluses of Wasatch, it is warranted. A $1 reduction would also help balance Layton's solid waste collection fee that is currently running at a deficit.

The council recently balanced its garbage fund budget by taking money from the general fund. Jensen said the city must repay that debt someday.

A $1 reduction would mean Layton residents would not face any garbage collection fees for the near future.