Changes in landfill fees to encourage cleanup

C lovis is doing a little spring cleaning. City residents will be able to take small loads of solid waste to the landfill free of charge. The Public Works Committee lined out guidelines for the clean up in Wednesday's meeting.

The Clovis News Journal says the change is effective immediately and is designed, to encourage cleanup in the community.

Residents may dump solid waste at the landfill for free but it must be contained in a pickup truck or single-axle trailer no longer than 10 feet.

City Manager Joe Thomas said, all other loads of waste and those that are obviously commercial will be pro-rated by individual weight at $26 a ton.

Proof of city residency will be required and while no limits were set, the committee instructed landfill employees to watch carefully for abuse. The measure is intended to act as a stop-gap until a city revenue review takes place in August, at which time rate changes could be considered, Thomas said.

The review of all city fees takes place every two years.

City Engineer Justin Howalt said the landfill does not receive any revenue from garbage collection fees from residents and approximately $1 million in trash that could have been charged for last year, wasn't.

For the last 10 years, the city has subsidized the landfill with money from gross receipts taxes, Commissioner Randy Crowder said.

He said there are 13,0000 residents paying garbage rates of about $30 every three months generating an average of 2.5 tons of garbage, per household, per year.

The city is in the process of reaffirming its 20-year permit with the EPA - a process which takes place at the 10-year mark - and as part of that, is looking to add a separate area in the landfill for construction and demolition waste, Thomas said.

Howalt said it will be his recommendation that rates be changed to $30 a ton for municipal solid waste, $11 a ton for construction and demolition waste and $18 a ton for green waste.

"We've gotta start getting control of what people are putting in their (garbage) containers," Howalt said.

The collection process is also burdened when people put items in the collection bins that instead need to be taken to the landfill, such as lawn and tree waste. Howalt says those items should be taken to the landfill on a fee basis.

But Committee members expressed concerns that too many fees and guidelines will only result in illegal dumping.

Mayor Gayla Brumfield said in light of public comments made at a May 20 commission meeting, she believes residents realize they have been getting a bargain on their garbage collection and landfill services and would be understanding of a rate increase.

"I think really we've been well taken care off," she said. "At the meeting, the majority said that they would be willing to look at (rate increases)."