Williams scale ensures fair weigh for trash

City employee George Otero weights a pick-up June 6 at the Williams transfer station

It’s a question of mass versus volume. Until recently you were charged by volume, or cubic yard, for the trash you brought to the Williams transfer station. But now with a recently installed vehicle scale, residents are being charged by how much their garbage weighs.

“It’s a fair way to charge people,” said Williams Assistant City Manager Joe Duffy. “A few people have complained, but others, like contractors, are glad because it’s fair.”

Until now city employees judged how many cubic yards a load of trash mainly by looking at a load of trash and reckoning how much was there. Charging by weight eliminates the suggestiveness in the fee, said Duffy.

The city started using the $30,000 scale May 27.

People are charged for what they actually have,” said city employee, George Otero. “If you have feathers, you’ll pay for feathers. If it’s more, you pay more.”

Williams raised its sanitation and dumping fees 23 percent for residential and 28 percent for commercial customers Jan. 1 in hopes of capturing more than $90,000 it says was being lost each year.

According to a city report, sanitation costs have increased in recent years while revenues stayed the same. The sanitation department lost more than $96,000 in 2001 and nearly $90,000 in 2002.

The report identified the city’s transfer station, where trash is collected and later hauled to a Flagstaff landfill, as the main culprit.

Before Jan. 1, the city charged $3 per cubic yard. That rate increased to almost $9. Rates have now been converted to reflect the change from volume to weight-assessed fees. Taking trash to the station now runs about 3.5 cents per pound plus a $2 base fee.

Since the changes, city officials have also noticed an increase in illegal dumping in city owned trash containers. The containers provided to residents and businesses are there for the customers only, said Williams police Sgt. Rob Krombeen.

“Most people we’ve contacted thought they had permission,” said Krombeen.

Dumping unauthorized trash is a misdemeanor that police are preparing to begin focussing on, he said.

“Only the city can give permission to put trash in there,” said Krombeen. “(Business owners) are only paying for their own garbage.”

For now, police are documenting violations but have issued no citations. That will change in coming weeks when officers begin issuing citations however, said Krombeen.

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