Rate changes for using landfill proposed

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Craig Swope unloads trash at the Carson City landfill on Tuesday afternoon. City officials are considering a number of fee changes.

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Craig Swope unloads trash at the Carson City landfill on Tuesday afternoon. City officials are considering a number of fee changes.

The cost to drop garbage at Carson's City's landfill would decrease for most in-county residents, but increase for those bringing trash from other counties, under a plan being considered Thursday by supervisors.

For curbside customers, there would be no immediate changes in their rates, but that could change because the in-town contractor will also be paying more to use the landfill and may seek to pass that cost on to customers.

The city expects to earn an additional $1 million annually with the proposal, which would bring in nearly $3.7 million total to take care of the landfill.

Leftover money, if there is any, could be used to fund other needs, said City Manager Linda Ritter.

"The landfill could be a profit center," she said. "We can help support other programs."

Many of the drop-off rates for in-county landfill users would decrease. Cost for loads of less than 1,000 pounds would drop an average of 11 percent. There would be substantial increases in charges for municipal waste loads exceeding 1,000 pounds, and for construction and demolition loads.

Out-of-county customers would pay double the new in-county rates.

Capital Sanitation/Waste Management, Inc., which takes what it collects locally from curbsides to the landfill, said the rate increase will have a significant impact.

"Our concern is an added cost of $600,000 annually, starting next year," said Greg Martinelli, vice president of WMI, Nevada. "Any increase ends up impacting consumers."

Martinelli said the proposal could impact his business in another way: More residents might start hauling their own waste and stop using them for the work.

WMI will seek an increase in its franchise agreement amount with the city to take effect next year if the rate changes are approved. WMI asks for a cost-of-living increase every March, he said.

Martinelli said WMI expects its rate of return to decrease substantially- from 12 percent to 8 percent - if it doesn't receive a boost in its franchise fee. Martinelli expects to pass this cost on by charging customers an average of $1 more a month for curbside trash pickups early next year.

"We're going to pay for it anyway," said resident Amy Barnes of Carson City, who recently moved into a new home and periodically brings loads to the landfill. "You don't have much of a choice in anything. We'll have to pay for it somewhere."

The city took charge of the property in 2001 and expects it to be a viable dump site until 2056 - if carefully managed. When it was privately run, the facility was expected to be filled before the end of the decade, according to Ritter.

Carson "has done a good job of running the landfill since they took it over," said resident Craig Swope. He was happy to hear dumping rates affecting him would go down.

"I usually go out to the Lockwood dump," said Washoe Valley resident Mark Coveau, who was in town helping a friend with a landscaping project that required a trip to the landfill. He prefers Lockwood because there is less separation of refuse required.

He's planning to move to Stagecoach in the near future, however, and his future loads will be taken to the Carson landfill. Some out-of-towners might start illegally leaving refuse to avoid paying the higher fees, he said.

"People will start dumping in the hills again if they raise the rates too high," Coveau said.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.


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