Bad Economy Hinders County Landfill Income

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A dumpy economy has illuminated a new victim: landfills.

The landfill is a so-called enterprise fund, which means it’s self-sufficient. The fund’s income fell 21 percent the first six months of this fiscal year over the first six months of last year, Gila County Public Works Director Steve Stratton said.

The self-sustaining fund receives no tax revenue to support it, and so Stratton asked county supervisors this week to approve increased fees to raise an additional $50,000.

Fewer people are dumping brush and trash. “I think in hard times, you find people doing alternate things,” Stratton said.

People might illegally dump in the forest or burn debris.

The county’s budget called for the solid waste fund to earn $1.7 million this year, up from $1.68 million last year. Last year’s revenue, however, fell short of the $2 million anticipated.

Rates to drop smaller amounts of kitchen trash, loads mixed with construction and brush, and so-called “green waste” — grass, trees or shrubs — increased from $3 to $5. Green waste rates begin Feb. 1, the rest start March 1.

In 2004, public works halved the green waste cost to $22 per ton as an incentive for residents to remove brush around their homes and decrease fire risk. Stratton pointed out that the new $34.50 per ton rate is still less than the pre-2004 rate of $44.

The per-ton rates for household garbage and loads mixed with construction and brush stayed the same.

Public works recommends people bring in less frequent, larger loads if paying the fee is financially difficult.

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