Empire Strikes Back: Fruit Heights City Poised To Force Out Private Competition

A couple of weeks ago, I highlighted an amusing article on how one innovative private recycling firm had turned a lemon into lemonade when Fruit Heights City decided to push it’s own recycling program.  Concluding that post, however, I warned “government gets fickle when it loses and will use power to win” and provided Bountiful City’s recycling example.  Looks like the warning was on the mark based on the latest City Council meeting (passed on by a reader):

Fruit Height’s attorney advised them that they did NOT have a exclusive contract with the current waste hauler and that they would have no liability to let someone else haul recyclables in the city.

Nonetheless, Brandon Green [City Manager] purposed that they move forward with a city sponsored recycling program with Robinson Waste without going to bid.  Furthermore, he suggested that they remove any minimum participation requirements (previously 60%) and that they SUBSIDIZE the cost of the curbside recycling for the next 2 YEARS using a “surplus” in the garbage budget to keep the price under $4.00, regardless of participation….

…Ultimately 2 of the 3 present council members voted for Brandon’s plan, but the measure was tabled to a future meeting because they need at least 3 votes.

A couple of weeks ago, the Mayor seemed to take a laisez-fair approach and effectively indicated he was fine not having a recycling program if the existing private service would work and residents were not sufficiently interested in the city-dictated program.  I don’t know if his position has changed but the City Council is poised to crush the private-sector, non tax-subsidized competition.

To make matters worse, the Council wants to crush the competition by a mechanism (subsidy) to underbid and cloak costs using citizens’ tax money (from garbage disposal overcharges) and drop the participation requirement.  This essentially turns the program into a mandatory recycling program where every resident is forced to pay via the subsidy.

Do also note that once the two years are up, the subsidy will go away and rates will necessarily increase (and participation will have to be mandated to maintain the program).  Meanwhile, the private company will have likely been financially chased out of town leaving the city-ordained monopoly the only means to continue curbside recycling.  It stinks to high heavens.

Now is the time to contact the Mayor and City Council and politely, but firmly, ask them to allow the private sector to continue to fulfill the curbside recycling service it has already been providing for the last nine years:

Main City Phone Number: (801) 546-0861
Mayor Todd Stevenson – tstevenson[at]fruitheightscity.com
City Council:
Craig Hill – chill[at]fruitheightscity.com
Kris Christensen – kchristensen[at]fruitheightscity.com
Mike Anderson – manderson[at]fruitheightscity.com
Bette Hubrich – bhubrich[at]fruitheightscity.com
Don Carroll – dcarroll[at]fruitheightscity.com

3 thoughts on “Empire Strikes Back: Fruit Heights City Poised To Force Out Private Competition

  1. Pingback: Fruit Heights Opts To Crush Entrepreneur (Recycling) | Utah Rattler

    • Thanks for the update. Those were the names on the council site at the time I made the post. It looks like the page has been updated…or I somehow had an old cached copy that loaded.

      That’s all moot, however, since the city finalized the recycling program and will lose the private provider (unless residents catch on and opt-out in droves). I assume the vote you refer to was against the final contract (see link) – if so, thanks. I hope you will be a voice to oppose any form of mandatory recycling fee in the future (Bountiful went from opt-out to mandatory with no public notice under the guise of ‘recycling discussion’ with no public comment and other cities have also mandated all to pay the fee or subsidy).

      Speaking of which, is Fruit Heights paying any subsidy or providing any fund transfer to Robinson Waste (the city contractor) other than that paid by individual residents who use the city contractor (ie have noted opted-out)?

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