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Garbage disposal fees likely to increase soon

April 16, 2011

It’s probably inevitable.

Garbage disposal rates are going to go up sometime soon and some hours or days are going to get cut at most of the county’s landfills, in an attempt to plug a funding hole that is leaking as much as $2,000-$3,000 a day from the county’s coffers.

The proposed increase, which goes to the public for a hearing on April 19, will increase residents’ garbage disposal fees by about 11 percent, if the plan laid out by county staff and approved in theory by the county supervisors passes a final vote on April 19 at a meeting in Mammoth Lakes.

The plan will also eliminate some of the days of operations at all the county’s landfills, in an attempt to save more money.

At issue is the fact the a huge decrease in garbage going to the county’s landfills due to the slump in construction (hence a drop in construction debris) has put the county’s garbage disposal fund in the red.
It simply costs more to get rid of the garbage than residents pay now in fees.

The gap is huge at about $80,000 a month; big enough to make a serious hit impact to the county’s coffers and leave less money for other services such as road repair, snow removal, parks, and more.

If the plan is adopted next week, the hole will be plugged, leaving the fund in the black, although the long-term problems, like whether to build another landfill or haul the garbage to Nevada (and how the Town of Mammoth and the county will share the cost and management of garbage disposal) will have to wait for another day.

“We need to plug the hole now, then set up a joint powers agreement with the Town of Mammoth and work on the long-term problem together,” said District 1 Supervisor Larry Johnston, who has been working on the solid waste problem since December, along with many other officials and citizens.
In brief, here’s what the plan looks like now:

• All county landfills except the Benton Crossing Road landfill will operate two days a week, down from three and four days in some cases.

• The Benton Crossing landfill will no longer operate on Sundays or on any county holidays.

• The garbage-per-ton fee will increase from $48-$50 a ton to $68 a ton.

IF YOU GO

When: April 19, 11 a.m.
Where: Sierra Center Mall, third floor, Board of Supervisors chambers (at south end of hall)
Contact: (760) 932-5530

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