Trash firm denied rehearing on rates
"If the city is wanting to make a social statement
about reducing the amount of garbage, they shouldn’t do it at the cost
of the franchisee [Wood River Rubbish]."
Mike Dolan, general manager
By PETER BOLTZ
Express Staff Writer
What started out as a simple $1.40 across-the-board
increase in trash collection rates requested by Wood River Rubbish Co. has
turned into a complex discussion of rate structures with the city of
It has also "flabbergasted" the company’s
general manager, Mike Dolan, who implored the council in a letter to
reconsider a rate increase at its April 2 meeting.
"City staff submitted a variety of rate schedules to
the council—all of them below my costs—and the council voted for one
of them, and they didn’t even ask me if I was in agreement," Dolan
said in an interview.
The new rate structure approved by the city is set up to
reward those who generate less garbage with lower rates, so rates increase
from the 32-, to 68- to 95-gallon container services. The previous rate
had been a flat rate per gallon.
The rate structure approved by the council is $6.91 per
month for a 32 gallon container; $17.35 per month for a 68 gallon
container; and $32.30 for a 95 gallon container.
Since the new rate constituted a 5 percent increase in
fees of which the council did not give prior notice, the new rate could
not immediately go into effect. According to Idaho law, fee increases of 5
percent or more must first be noticed and given a public hearing.
To comply with the law, the city has set a public hearing
on the rate increase for May 14, postponed from its original date of April
23. Until then, the old rate structure for rubbish pickup will remain in
On April 4, Dolan wrote a letter to the council asking to
be on the April 9 meeting agenda because he had "serious concerns
regarding the rates that were approved during the April 2 council
The council put him on the agenda but unanimously refused
to revisit the issue at this time.
"I am absolutely flabbergasted with where we are
now," Dolan said in an interview. "If the city is wanting to
make a social statement about reducing the amount of garbage, they shouldn’t
do it at the cost of the franchisee [Wood River Rubbish]."
Hailey Mayor Brad Siemer responded, also in an interview,
that "that’s not our intention. He [Dolan] is going to have the
chance to make his case when the city hears the rate increase again [on
While that makes sense as a matter of paying more for
having more garbage hauled away, Dolan said that it makes no sense by
business logic. He said the cost of servicing a 32-gallon container is
similar to the cost of servicing a 95-gallon container. The major
difference is the additional cost of disposal.
Dolan said his costs are primarily based on how many stops
his crews have to make, not on the size of a homeowner’s container.
Although the city council voted Monday night not to
reconsider its April 2 decision, council members did agree to reconsider
the decision in three to six months after they have an opportunity to
evaluate its effects.
In other business, the council approved a rezone of the
Northridge VII subdivision from limited residential 2 (LR-2) to limited
residential 1 (LR-1), and its preliminary plat.
The property is located to the west of the bench north of
the Hailey Middle School.
The only difference between the two zones is the minimum
lot size—8,000 square feet for LR-1 and 12,000 square feet for LR-2.
In August, the subdivision drew fire from neighboring
homeowners because the original rezone request was from limited
residential (LR-2) to general residential (GR) which would allow the
developer, EMOSA. L.L.C., to build condominiums and duplexes on the
Bob Brand, who was the unofficial and outspoken spokesman
for more than 40 homeowners, was present at Monday night’s council
meeting and expressed no objection to the rezone nor the preliminary plat.