North Ogden mulls 49-cent hike in trash fees to cover recycling costs

Tuesday , May 15, 2018 - 5:15 AM3 comments

NORTH OGDEN — North Ogden officials are mulling a 49-cent hike in monthly garbage collection fees to maintain the city’s recycling program, the focus of heightened scrutiny as the value of recyclable items dips.

They had been considering axing the program altogether.

Per the proposed increase, to be debated at Tuesday’s North Ogden City Council meeting, the monthly household fee would go from $11.84 a month to $12.33. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and will be held at City Hall, 505 E. 2600 North, with the public invited to comment on the issue.

RELATED: Recycling program in North Ogden could get thrown out by City Council

City leaders had investigated the possibility of eliminating the recycling program, but that would likely require rate hikes as well because the city’s waste hauler, Republic Services, would have more trash to collect. Beyond that, eliminating the program would require collection of the recycling bins distributed to customers and storing or disposing of them.

“Then if the recycling market improved, it would be costly to restart the program,” said a city report on the question.

The future of recycling has been a focus of debate across Weber County and northern Utah, not just because of the lower cost recyclable items fetch. Dirty or soiled items harm the recycling stream, can be rejected by some handlers, while bagged recyclables are also headache and typically sent to the landfill.

RELATED: Cities bailing on Weber County recycling program

The proposed garbage collection hike would be part of an overall proposed utility rate hike for North Ogden customers of $5.87, from $58.68 to $64.55 for 2019. Water, sewer, stormwater and irrigation water fees are also part of city utility bills and the overhaul hike aims to cover rising operations costs and create reserves for future utilities capital projects.

Recyclers had accepted North Ogden recyclables for free because they earned money selling the materials to processing firms, according to Jon Call, the city attorney for North Ogden. With the dip in the value of many recyclables, recyclers now charge to accept the items, making recycling programs a more expensive proposition.

The city has sought feedback from the public, and Call said the majority want to keep the program and are willing to pay more for the service, within limits.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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