Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sanitation District Separates from Salt Lake County

By Pam Roberts, Executive Director
SLCo Special Service District #1 (Sanitation)

In 2013 the Sanitation District becomes its own organization and manages its own employees and funds.  Please note that sanitation funds are fees paid by customers.

History and Background:

The Special District was established in 1977 by the Salt Lake County Commission under State Statute 17 B. The name of the district is Salt Lake County Special Service District #1 (Sanitation). The county commission served as the board of trustees for the district and had all governing authority over the district. The purpose of the district was and still is to provide waste collections for what was then the unincorporated Salt Lake County. The County Sanitation Division was designated as the service provider for the district and was set up and still functions as an enterprise fund within Salt Lake County.  

Since 1977, the cities of Taylorsville, Cottonwood Heights, Holladay and Herriman incorporated and remained in the service district and the sanitation division remained the service provider through Salt Lake County. As you know, the citizens of the county voted to change the government structure from three county commissioners to nine council members and a mayor. The county council then became the board of trustees for the sanitation district.  

As time progressed and the concept of local control developed, in November 2009 the county council created the nine member Administrative Control Board (ACB) to be effective January 1, 2010. The board consisted of one elected official from each of the four cities, four county council members and the county mayor, or designee, who is Patrick Leary, PW Department Director.

Over the past two years both the county and the board have voiced a desire to have the district function as its own independent entity. The district would hire its own employees and manage its own funds rather than have Salt Lake County provide employees and manage funds for the district. 

On May 23, 2012, the ACB passed a resolution and requested that the county allow the district to transfer the sanitation employees from the county to the district and to transfer funds from the county to the district effective January 1, 2013. To be clear, these funds are fees paid by district customers and not county tax dollars. On June 5, 2012, during a Committee of the Whole and the  county council meeting, the council approved and ratified the ACB resolution and gave direction for a county resolution to be drafted to establish the Sanitation District as its own fully functioning organization transferring sanitation employees from the county to the district. 

Why the Sanitation District should be its own fully functioning organization with its own employees and managing its own funds:
·   The District is all ready its own entity and it’s confusing and unnecessary for the county to provide employees for an independent entity.
·   The change acknowledges the rate payers (customers) get to control the District as an independent entity.
·   In essence, the rate payers will be the owners and managers of the company (District) that provides their waste and recycling collection services through their elected officials on the Board.
·   It reduces the amount of management the county government has to perform due to the reduction of managing human resources and accounting functions. (Small reduction with 76 employees)
·   Reduces the need for the county to maintain separate budgeting as an enterprise fund.

If you have further questions on this issue, you can contact the sanitation district directly at 385-468-6325.

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