• Brooke D'Sousa

👋 good-bye curbside bulk waste - hello $500k+ dumpster program

Updated: Feb 7, 2020

Sandy WILL NOT be offering curbside bulk waste beginning this year. Instead, they will offer residents 1 thirty-cubic-yard dumpster between April 1st and September 30th.

Speaking as a resident, I'm still undecided about whether or not I support the changes. I recognize there are some issues with the current program, but I'm unsure if these changes provide enough benefit to warrant a cost increase of $500k+ and a service decrease of 88%.

The newly executed contract between Sandy City and Waste Management obligate Waste Management to provide 20 dumpsters per day Monday - Saturday beginning April 1st through September 30th at a cost to Sandy city of $179/dumpster.

This equates to a max of approximately 3,120 dumpsters available during that time period, at a total cost of approximately $558,480 to Sandy to provide this new service.

On days when there aren't 20 dumpsters being delivered, Sandy is still contracted to pay Waste Management $100/undelivered dumpster for up to 20 dumpsters.

With the number of dumpsters that can be given during the April-September time period, a max of approximately 12% of the residents can participate vs 100% of the residents (based on an assumed 25,00 households as confirmed by Sandy City). This new program therefore has a cost of $245/resident vs $45/resident under the previous plan.

In order to ensure all residents can participate in this new plan, a minimum of 8 neighboring households would need to team up and share a dumpster. Not impossible, just not very practical.

I have been an engaged citizen over the last few years, and I have educated myself to the best of my ability on the city's issues, with the budget being one of the more pressing. I ran for city council this last year because I have become increasingly more concerned about rising costs and administrative inefficiencies.

I'm also concerned with an increase in the overall budget as the city is facing another year of possible tax increases to cover some of the $75M needed for capital projects. This was known last year, yet the council still approved a 30+% property tax increase that didn't address any capital needs, and is poised to do so again.

I realize the cost savings (if any) get a little complicated because of how complicated the city budget is, which is why I'm still undecided about whether or not I support the changes as a resident.

The city is selling this as a $300k savings, when in reality it is this is a $500k+ increase in costs (serving far fewer residents) as city employees will be retained and paid but put to different tasks.

A member of the council recently mentioned to residents who questioned the change that "change is hard". I just want to be sure my position is clear. My comments aren't about change being hard. This is about communication and transparency, and the overall effect to the city's budget.

As I do more research I'm sure I'll gain more clarity, which I will happily share here.

Updated 2/6/20: The morning after the 2/4/20 City Council meeting where the changes and impact to the budget were discussed, the city issued a notice to their facebook page letting residents know that they will keep the previous curb-side bulk waste program and NOT implement the dumpster program at this time.

I want to thank the many residents who took the time to communicate with their City Council representatives, and those that were able to come to the City Council meeting and express their support for or against this new program. If it wasn't for the pressure that was applied on the Mayor to better explain the need for the change and how it impacts the budget, the city would have done away with a service that an overwhelming number of residents value at a cost that expands the city's overall expenditures.

I am hopeful that if future changes are made to the program, the Mayor will do a better job of communicating the needs for the changes with both the residents and the Council well ahead of making such changes. I believe in collaboration and consensus as much as possible.

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