Silverthorne Town Council: Our alternate view on flow control (column)
February 9, 2017
Monday's Summit Daily article headlined, "Summit County firms up flow control," correctly states the Town of Silverthorne is not planning to advance a flow control ordinance. However, the reason why the Silverthorne Town Council has declined to mandate flow-control on its residents and businesses certainly includes free market and competitiveness concerns, but encompasses a number of other issues too.
The Town of Silverthorne and the Silverthorne Town Council share the desire to — and recognize the desire of our citizens to — reduce waste and recycle and reuse resources wisely. The town council welcomes the opportunity to work with Summit County's elected and professional leadership to make recycling readily available on the north end of the county and to address the underlying costs of providing recycling service. Ultimately, the costs and operations of the landfill and the costs and operations of recycling are two separate issues that require different strategies. The town council remains unconvinced, however, that mandating trash haulers to fill up the landfill at an accelerated pace, and at potentially higher rates to consumers, in order to underwrite the costs of the recycling operation is the best or most sustainable long-term strategy.
Realistically, Summit County will never open an additional landfill. The goal should be to make our current landfill last as long as it possibly can. Silverthorne is not unsympathetic to the fiscal challenges of operating a landfill. We understand the need to protect surface water and groundwater. We understand the need to save money in anticipation of the ultimate costs of inactivating the landfill site. If the dumping fees in Summit County were the second highest in the state before the announcement to reduce dumping fees and extend hours, there either needs to be a massive increase in trash volumes to cover the additional operating costs or the landfill operation is only going to become more of a fiscal crisis in years to come.
Summit County is not the only location in the country to face this problem. For this reason, the Silverthorne Town Council strongly supports an independent third-party review of the landfill's fee structure, operations, competitiveness and long-term financial outlook before mandating that more trash be dumped in Summit County. The Silverthorne Town Council looks forward to working with Summit County, other local jurisdictions and other community leaders to constructively address long-term economic and environmental sustainability at the landfill and to formulating a viable recycling program. Silverthorne has participated, and will continue to participate, in Summit County's Zero Waste Task Force, and we look forward to continuing the discussions on this topic in that forum as well. Accessible recycling should not be predicated upon government-mandates requiring more trash to be dumped in the landfill. These are completely contradictory goals and the Town of Silverthorne welcomes the opportunity to be part of a better solution.
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