West Haven trash

West Haven officials are weighing whether to contract with a hauler on behalf of the city's residents to collect waste. They debated the issue Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, ultimately tabling action. This Jan. 23, 2020, photo shows the Weber County Transfer Station in Ogden, where most trash in the county is brought for processing.

WEST HAVEN — West Haven remains the only apparent city in Weber County that doesn’t contract for trash-collection services on behalf of its citizens.

And after the issue generated a flurry of comments at a public hearing on the matter, many of them negative, that will stay the same, at least for now.

The West Haven City Council has been debating whether to contract with a hauler to collect waste in the city, and on Wednesday officials held a public hearing on the issue, with three proposals from private firms up for consideration. It’s been an on-and-off issue over the years, with many asking city leaders to take up the issue in a bid to lower the cost residents have to pay for garbage collection. As is, residents and others seeking trash collection negotiate directly with haulers for service, which can be a more costly proposition.

But after several spoke out at the hearing, expressing chagrin over the absence of a provision in the plans allowing for dumpsters, the City Council tabled action. Instead, they’ll see if the three bidders, Republic Services, Waste Management and Robinson Waste Services, can amend their proposals to address the dumpster issue, tentatively taking the matter up again on Sept. 16.

“With all the agriculture land in West Haven, a lot use dumpsters versus cans,” Nina Morse, a member of the city council, said Thursday. Dumpsters are larger, accommodating more waste, and the alternative for dumpster users under the proposals submitted would potentially have been paying for several cans, increasing their costs.

Trash-collection may seem a mundane matter. But the issue highlights the ongoing change in West Haven, which has an agricultural heritage but is quickly expanding and changing, developing a more suburban feel. Officials are also in the midst of negotiating the hire of a new city manager to oversee West Haven’s day-to-day functions, underscoring the rapid growth of the city, on track to surpass South Ogden as Weber County’s fourth-largest locale.

In fact, West Haven is the only city in Weber County that doesn’t provide trash collection itself or have a government-negotiated deal to provide the service, according to Mayor Sharon Bolos. Weber County addressed the trash issue last spring, contracting with two waste haulers to handle residential trash collection in the unincorporated areas of the county, mainly in a bid to reduce costs for consumers.

The trash-collection fees in West Haven under the three proposals up for consideration on Wednesday ranged from $28.29 to $32.94 every three months for one trash bin. That’s about a third of the cost some currently pay. “We have people who are paying around $100 a quarter for one can,” Morse said.

Indeed, though there’s vocal opposition, chiefly among those who want a dumpster option, Morse suspects most favor the city going ahead and contracting with a hauler, mainly because of the resulting savings. Bolos, meantime, is also hearing opposition from some who want the option to negotiate their own trash-hauling deals, who don’t want to be pinned down to a hauler picked by the city.

Per Wednesday’s action, the three bidders for trash collection will be asked to redo their plans to contain a dumpster option and/or an opt-out provision for those preferring to contract for dumpster service on their own, according to Morse.

Weber County Commissioner Scott Jenkins said one of the few points of contention in the county-negotiated trash-hauling deal was over dumpsters. As in West Haven, some prefer dumpsters because of the quantity of waste they can hold, he said. Accordingly, the county policy allows for exemptions, on a case-by-case basis, for those who want to negotiate dumpster deals with haulers on their own.

“That’s been the only wrinkle we’ve had,” Jenkins said.

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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