Recology will no longer collect trash in Lincoln County, effective today.

A letter dated June 14 and published as a paid advertisement in this week’s Lincoln County Record announced the decision. Dr. Adam Katschke, chairman of the Board of County Commissioners subcommittee dealing with Recology said he thinks the company’s decision to stop hauling solid waste this week was “a very underhanded maneuver.” He said he would want “to talk to District Attorney Daniel Hooge about this.”

Commissioners were unaware Recology would discontinue hauling the county’s trash this soon until they were asked about it by the Lincoln County Record on Tuesday. The county is publishing an ad in this week’s paper seeking a replacement trash hauler.

“They (Recology) know they can make their money off the landfill because it’s such a high price. For a company that said Lincoln County was very important to them, they wanted to make it work. I guess the proof is in the pudding.”
Dr. Adam Katschke
lincoln county commission chairman

Commissioner Paul Mathews, also a member of the subcommittee, had said during the June 7 commission meeting, when the county voted to file suit against Recology, that the company had agreed to continue hauling solid waste until July 1. However, he was not available for comment.

Recology’s letter dated stated they “will continue to operate the Crestline Landfill to meet the disposal needs of the citizens of Lincoln County and will accept solid waste delivered to the landfill by Lincoln County or a hauler selected by Lincoln County.”

Katschke said Recology’s tipping fee, the price for dumping trash at Crestline, is “about $100 a ton, which is over three times the state average, and higher than most anywhere else in the nation.  So, what they are doing is trying to rip off the people of Lincoln County.”  He continued, “I believe they are trying to make the people of Lincoln County pay for a business mistake they made. The county would have not put a landfill out where it is, it’s too far away. It makes no sense for our citizens to pay to dump garbage out there, and they want our citizens to pay for it. It’s a very unfair situation.”

He said, “They know they can make their money off the landfill because it’s such a high price. For a company that said Lincoln County was very important to them, they wanted to make it work. I guess the proof is in the pudding.”
He recounted that after Recology’s current contract lapsed last October, the company decided not to have a new contract, instead have month-by-month rates, until a new contract could be negotiated. “They let it expire, with the purpose, in my opinion, of telling us ‘we want out of the county, buy us out or we’ll just quit hauling.’ That’s a very underhanded technique.” In addition, he added, “The collection agreement always had a limit on what they could charge and how much of an increase that would be allowed.  But, by letting the contract run out, that went away, so they get to charge the citizens whatever they want. To me, that is not valuing their role in the community. That is taking advantage of a situation and making the people of our county pay for it.”

Recology has also claimed that the county has an obligation to pay for the landfill. However, Commission chair Kevin Phillips said he believes none of the members of the present board, or any other boards in the past, “ever contemplated, or had been of the understanding, that Lincoln County was under any kind of obligation or liability regarding the landfill.”

When contacted by the Lincoln County Record, Phillips said, “It appears now that this is a standard procedure for this particular firm. One more insult in terms of the manner in which the citizenry is treated. We feel they breached the landfill agreement, but they don’t think so, and what I believe they are trying to do is hold us hostage to exclusive landfill operations, dumping is allowed only at Crestline. They are putting themselves in a position to force our citizens to do something they really don’t want to do.”

Hooge said in his opinion that’s exactly what Recology is trying to do. “I think it’s disingenuous, and I think it violates the original agreement.”

Recology wants even more for dumping this year at Crestline, Hooge said. “They are going to charge us $800,000 a year instead of what has had been only $300,000 for collection and disposing.”  Commissioners have unanimously turned that idea down and is one of the reasons for filing suit.

Commissioners may put on item on the agenda to be able to continue to deal with the issue at the June 20 meeting at the commission chambers in Pioche.  The meeting is open to the public.