ST. GEORGE – At a special meeting Monday, the Washington County Solid Waste Board approved a proposal for residential curbside recycling. The agreement will now go to the cities and towns for approval, and if all goes as the board intends, recycling services could start Jan. 1, 2016.
The agreement outlines the specifics of the program, including the cost per residence, participation thresholds and the timetable.
The Solid Waste District voted in March to start negotiations with Dixie Waste Services as the next step toward a countywide recycling program. The county had also been considering curbside recycling bids from Republic Services, but chose Dixie Waste.
The board’s goal is to get as many residences to participate as possible; and the agreement sets thresholds for participation which will affect the cost to residents.
The initial cost per household per month for cities which allow residents to opt out is $3.82 per household per month, while cities that choose mandatory participation will get a better rate of $3.62. Ivins, Santa Clara and Springdale are all planning to make curbside recycling mandatory.
If the participation rate reaches 70 percent, the monthly fee will be reduced to $2.94 for everyone. However, if the rate drops below 50 percent of households in participating communities after the opt-out period is over, the board will put the whole program on hold, Washington County Solid Waste District Manager Neil Schwendiman said.
“Basically, to us that means that the public has spoken, and they don’t want the program,” Schwendiman said. The board would then stop pursuing curbside recycling.
Solid Waste Board Attorney Fay Reber recommended that municipalities who choose an opt out program offer residents what was known in earlier discussions as option No. 1. This would allow existing homeowners one chance to opt out, but when a property is sold within the city, the new owners would automatically be enrolled in curbside recycling.
The ultimate goal is to get everyone into the program, Reber said; however, he also suggested allowing variances on a case-by-case basis. The municipalities will each set their own rules for how and when residents can opt in or out.
Apple Valley, Enterprise and the unincorporated areas of the county have indicated that they will choose not to participate in the program.
The 22-member Solid Waste Board is made up of one representative from each municipality in the county, with the exception of St. George, which has six members on the board due to its population. The county also holds two seats on the board.
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