Disposing of old tires more costly in county
Beginning next month, it's going to cost more for the county's used tire shops, farmers, heavy industrial tire dealers and other businesses to dispose of old, worn tires.
The Yuma County Board of Supervisors, by a 5-0 vote Monday approved an increase in the tipping fee rates at the county's waste tire facility. The fee takes effect April 1.
Hugh Hendren, deputy director of public works, asked for the increase, saying that it was needed because the cost to dispose of tires dropped off at the facility is far more than the county collects in fees.
"Nobody ever wants to raise the fees for the services they charge, but it's to a point where we are receiving so many tires for disposal that we now have to," Hendren said. "We intentionally kept the current tipping fees frozen for as long as we could."
Individuals will still be allowed to drop off five worn passenger tires a year for free, while new tire dealers can dispose of tires at no cost because of environmental fees they charge on the sale of new tires.
The tipping fee increase will affect used tire shop dealers, farmers wanting to dispose of tractor tires, and contractors getting rid of heavy equipment tires. "They've always paid these fees, now they're going to be charged more," Hendren said.
They are being charged because there are no environmental fees assessed on the sales of the types of tires they purchase.
Under the new fee schedule, the county will charge $1.50 per tire for a passenger car and light truck, $5 for each large or semi-truck tire, $28 per tire from a piece of heavy equipment or farm machinery and $28 for each off-road tire.
The current tire disposal rates are as follows: $1 per tire for a passenger car and light truck, $4 for each large or semi-truck tire, $16 per tire from a piece of heavy equipment or farm machinery and $16 for each off-road tire.
Hendren told supervisors that if the current rates were to remain in effect, the county would be operating at a $27,000 deficit in the coming year.
Hendren added that a portion of the money used to dispose of the old tires comes from the state, based on the number of registered vehicles in the county and the amount of revenue from environmental fees collected from new tire sales in the county.
"One of the problems we are facing with this is when winter visitors and seasonal workers buy their tires here, the fees don't come back to Yuma because their car isn't registered here," Hendren said. "The tires are being generated here because the dealers are dropping them off for us to dispose of and we don't have adequate funds to do it."
Another problem, Hendren said, is the county has been subsidizing the costs of tire disposal with money it gets from the state's waste tire reserve fund, which is now nearly depleted.
"The only reason it isn't is because we've reduced the number of tires being taken out of the site in order to allow for us to maintain a small reserve fund," Hendren said.
Without a reserve fund, Hendren said, the county wouldn't be able to pay for any disposal-related emergencies, such as the huge tire fire at the Gila River Indian Reservation in August of 1997.
Yuma was one of six counties the Environmental Protection Agency held liable, requiring the county to pay $15,236 as its share for the final disposal of the tires it had shipped to the site four miles north of Coolidge.
James Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6854.