Kingman to pay for county fight against illegal dumpers

Mohave County's efforts to curtail illegal dumping may prove costly to Kingman residents, said City Manager Lou Sorensen.

"The purpose is commendable but it could mean an increase in sanitation fees paid by residents of the city," Sorensen said.

The illegal or "wildcat' dumping problem in the county will be funded by a $2 increase per ton in the tipping fees at the Cerbat and Mohave Valley landfills owned by the county and leased to an operator.

Waste Management, a private garbage collection company that works in local unincorporated areas, increased fees an average of six percent Jan.

1 covering the cost of tipping fees at the landfills.

The city may have to implement a similar price hike to cover the higher tipping fees.

Sorensen said the 9.3 percent increase is more than the city's budget can cover.

The residents of Lake Havasu City will not contribute to the funding of the county effort because that city does not use either county landfill.

"We wish there were other options to fund the program," said Acting Mohave County Public Works Director Mike Hendricks.

"This was something that was (done) to get the program started."

He estimated the increase in tipping fees will provide about $200,000 annually to hire someone to fill a law enforcement and educational position and to fund household hazardous waste collection days in Kingman and Bullhead City.

"I went out northeast of Kingman off I-40 over the weekend and the trash from wildcat dumping is terrible,' Hendricks said.

"It has been five years since the city raised the sanitation fee," Sorensen said.

"In that time tipping fees have increased from $23.53 per ton to the current $31.75."

The 2000 city budget includes $550,293 for tipping fees out of a total sanitation department budget of $1.9 million.

More than 25 percent of the budget collected from customers is used to pay for use of the Mohave County owned Cerbat landfill near Chloride.

The issue of increasing user fees for Kingman residents will go before the Municipal Utilities Commission for study.

If an increase is recommended, a public hearing will be scheduled.

Any increase in fees would likely take effect in the 2001 fiscal budget year, which begins in July.

Sorensen said an increase of between 80 cents and one dollar could be needed to cover the increased costs.

City Finance Director Roger Swenson has analyzed the cash flow for the Sanitation Department showing a negative cash flow is inevitable with increased tipping fees, higher truck fuel costs and other higher energy costs.

Sanitation service and water are provided to city residents by the City of Kingman through budgeted enterprise accounts funded entirely by user fees.

Sanitation fees must cover labor, maintenance, and purchase of trucks, waste containers and overhead.