What is going on with my rate?
While it is no surprise to many business owners in Wyoming the costs are increasing dramatically, Laramie area residents are also facing more than just the impacts of qualified laborers and health insurance premium impacts. A few years ago, the City of Laramie hired an outside firm to help them determine how to handle their landfill for the future. The process resulted in a $7 million expansion project. Since the project was adopted, the cost of landfilling your trash went from around $11 per ton to now $60 per ton! Comparatively, this rate is up with some of the nation’s highest rates. In those areas, rates are so high because of the lack of landfill locations such as New York, which is unlike what we see here in Wyoming, where we have plenty of open space.
Consider Colorado Disposal rates ranging from $15 per ton to $38 per ton just a few miles south!
So why don’t you just take our trash there? That is the trick that was played on the community. As a part of this landfill expansion and in an effort to ensure the cost would be covered, the City initiated what is called a FLOW CONTROL Law. This law allows the City to dictate that any trash generated in their community MUST be taken to their designated facility, thus giving them a governmental MONOPOLY on the waste stream. While the waste haulers are the ones that end up paying these fees, you can see that they must then pass them on to the residents through higher trash rates. It is like being taxed by the City without knowing it. Out-of-city residents are impacted the same since their trash must essentially go there as well.
When this project was being discussed WDS did speak out against this and even the need to expand the landfill. A local transfer facility could have been put into place with a much lower cost and especially long-term lower operating costs. At that time, we did not have the resources or time to gain the necessary support from the community to prevent the law from going forward.
WDS is currently planning to pursue this type of facility to manage all construction and hard to recycle materials from within the community. Even factoring in all operating expenses, the costs of landfilling in Laramie could be reduced by as much as 50%. However, we expect the City to challenge this process. We would like to be able to at the least process our own recyclable materials. In addition, we would divert recyclable materials from the construction waste stream by sorting and pulling out such materials. This would lead to reduced disposal costs along with some reduced environmental impacts.
Cheyenne area customers have also seen some increases for the first time in several years as we have been able to better control those costs since the opening of our transfer station at our main office location east of town. The impacts of increasing labor costs, health insurance for employees, and vehicle costs have driven the need for the increase in trash rates for 2017 in the Cheyenne area, though not by nearly as much as Laramie customers are facing.
We want our customers to know WDS is a family-owned business and a local utility service provider. We run very low margins as a utility and are driven by strong ethical beliefs in high-quality, hard work, and caring for neighbor. For these reasons, we will continue to pursue the best practices in serving Southeast Wyoming residents and businesses.
Please visit our site frequently, as we will be adding several more details on the current events regarding this topic as well, need to know information, and matters involving the Landfill in Laramie. We thank you for your loyalty and allowing us to serve you.