Rate increases at Salt Lake County landfill frustrate small business owners

Posted at 10:05 PM, Apr 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-28 00:05:01-04

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- A group of small businesses in Salt Lake County say they could soon be out of business, and they are blaming the county.

On Saturday the Salt Lake Valley Landfill changed their rates regarding how much it costs to drop off garbage. It used to be $10 for a single axel and $20 for a double axel, while commercial vehicles paid $31.35 per ton.

As of Saturday, any vehicle 8,000 pounds or more must pay the commercial rate. This would apply to most pickup trucks with a trailer.

"My cost of business just went up five to 10 times for every single job we come out here, it's going to kill us," said Brady Mitton, who owns Junk2Dump. "We work for old ladies, single mothers, people with disabilities."

Mitton takes his pickup truck and trailer to the landfill an average of five times a day, six days a week.

"We have contracts in place for demolitions, hauling away trees, things that we bid weeks ago that we booked for the next few weeks, I can't go back on that and re-change my bid I'm in a contract it's going to cost me money to go to work for the next month," Mitton said.

Like many business owners, Mitton is upset the county didn't give more notice regarding the change in cost.

"The county should have given some kind of notice -- they notify us if they are going to be closed for a holiday, they could have notified us of a rate increase,” said Tony Tharp, owner of Haul-It.

County officials say it's not a rate increase; it’s more of a misunderstanding, because technically these rates have been in place since the early 90s. However, the county didn't realize it until recently.

"Some of the initial reasons we looked into it is because we were getting complaints from other businesses who were paying the $31.35 a ton who are losing customers to other businesses," said Russ Wall, Public Works Director for Salt Lake County.

Mitton disagrees with this logic.

"I'm sorry, there is a large difference between Waste Management and Junk2Dump. I'm a single truck and trailer they're worldwide," Mitton said.

Wall sympathizes with people like Mitton but also said he has a job to do and must enforce the county policy.

"We have some customers that have been affected by this and they are obviously frustrated and we apologize that this took some people off guard," Wall said.

Business owners say the worst part is telling their customers, like Tony Yancey, of The Tent Man, that their rates will also have to go up.

"We normally pay $75 a load and now we'll be paying up to $125 to $150,” said Yancey. “It’s pretty much going to be double, it cuts into my bottom line, and it cuts into what I can give my employees because we run pretty lean.”