CACHE COUNTY – Members of the Cache County Council have voted down a proposal that would have put the countywide Green Waste Program on a year-round footing.
That plan, to be funded with an increase in county residents’ monthly trash fees ranging from $.50 to $1.50, was recommended by the members of the Cache County Solid Waste Advisory Board during their last meeting on June 8.
While generally supporting the goal of providing enhanced green waste services, the council members balked at the fact that the increased fee for Logan residents would only be $.50 per month compared to $1.50 for other county residents.
At their regular meeting Tuesday, the members of the county council invited public comment on the proposal and heard both positive and negative opinions from local residents.
Although she supported the idea of year-round green waste service, Terrie Wierenga of Richmond said the $18 per year fee for the proposed service was burdensome for retired residents on fixed incomes like herself.
She also expressed doubt that rural home-owners and farmers would use the services as much as city dwellers. Scott Walls of Wellsville shared that concern.
Mayor Thomas Bailey of Wellsville, a member of the county’s solid waste advisory board, said that a survey of Wellsville residents found that 271 favored the proposed green waste program compared to 100 opposed.
Mayor John Drew of Providence said that members of his city council overwhelmingly approved of the proposal.
But county council member Gina Worthen argued that the plan’s fee schedule was unfair to county residents.
Cache County has been offering green waste collection and composting service in one form or another for 30 years, according to Issa Hamud, the Environmental Department Director for Logan City.
At present, green waste (leaves, tree branches and other organic material) is collected from drop sites in 15 valley communities only during the months of April and October. Those communities are Clarkston, Hyde Park, Hyrum, Lewiston, Millville, Newton, Nibley, North Logan, Paradise, Providence, Richmond, River Heights, Smithfield, Trenton and Wellsville. Hamud explained that Logan requested removal of its municipal drop site for green waste in 2014.
The collected green waste materials are rendered into either compost or mulch and sold to county residents.
In addition to providing county residents with a convenient disposal service for yard debris, Hamud said the objective of the countywide Green Waste Program is to reduce the amount of organic material going into the Logan landfill, where green waste takes up valuable space and produces environmentally harmful methane gas.
Hamud said the proposed green waste program would fund year-round collection and compositing operations. The cost of that program for county residents would be a $.50 per month increase in trash fees for the composting and $1 per month for servicing drop sites in each of the aforementioned communities.
The cost of the program for Logan residents, however, would only be $.50 per month because the city has no drop site.
The problem with the fee schedule of proposed green waste plan, according to Worthen, is that Logan residents are able to use the drop sites in other communities without paying for the service. That problem is particularly acute in North Logan, she emphasized.
County Executive Craig Buttars, the chair of the county’s solid waste advisory board, acknowledged the validity of Worthen’s criticism.
After much debate, the majority of council members agreed with Worthen’s view and Resolution 2020-01 was defeated.