It’s your garbage, and it’s your dime now, too
September 22, 2009
City Hall is eliminating a subsidy that allows people in Old Town to have two of the small-sized trash cans, a budget-season decision that did not garner much publicity when it was OK’d last summer but one that could cost dozens of people in the neighborhood several hundred dollars each year.
The municipal government since the beginning of the decade has subsidized the people in Old Town who have more than one of the brown, 32-gallon trash cans. The smaller trash cans were introduced after an uproar in the neighborhood when 95-gallon cans were distributed once a new garbage collector started its operations. The 32-gallon cans, some people in Old Town said, were easier to store and looked better than the bigger blue ones.
But City Hall has been subsidizing the extra smaller cans for 179 households, costing taxpayers $1,500 each month. The subsidy was eliminated earlier this year, as Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council crafted a budget, the most difficult in years as the spending plan was negotiated amid the recession.
City Hall departments were ordered to make across-the-board budget cuts during the budget season, but many of them did not resonate with regular Parkites at the time.
Jerry Gibbs, who directs the Public Works Department, recently sent a letter about the elimination of the subsidy, saying that people will start being charged if they have a second 32-gallon trash can. The cost is estimated at $22 each month, according to the letter, and the charge will start Oct. 1. Gibbs said the cost could be reduced as City Hall and Summit County officials continue to negotiate.
Sept. 24 is the last day more than one trash can may be put out for collection without charge.
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People with a second 32-gallon trash can may keep it and be charged, turn it in or trade it for one of the larger cans. Someone who wants to turn in the second can must attach a pink piece of paper, supplied by the Public Works Department, to the can. The paper instructs someone to pick up the can. The cans may also be dropped off at the Public Works Building, 1053 Iron Horse Drive. For more information, contact the Public Works Department at 615-5301.
Someone wanting to exchange the smaller cans for a larger one must contact Allied Waste, the trash hauler. The firm’s number is 615-8311. A person wanting to exchange the cans must do so themselves at Allied Waste’s location at 6450 Silver Creek Drive.
Gibbs said officials hope the people in Old Town recycle more regularly as a result of the change. He said the amount of trash someone throws out can be cut in half through recycling. A curbside recycling program started in 2003, after the change in the trash service three years before.
"If they’re recycling, my guess is they’re not using the second can very often," Gibbs said, adding, "It’s an incentive to recycle."
Insa Riepen, the executive director of Recycle Utah, a not-for-profit group, meanwhile, agreed that people might recycle more frequently under the new arrangement, calling the end of the subsidy a "great idea."
Riepen estimated between 60 and 70 percent of the trash thrown away by Parkites could have been recycled. Another 25 percent could be made into compost, she said. Riepen said reducing trash is also environmentally friendly.
"Less trash is good because it protects the water sources by not burying it in the landfill," she said.