Pitco too free with Free Dump Day? | AspenTimes.com

Pitco too free with Free Dump Day?

Janet Urquhart

Mike Maple of Aspen tosses junk at the Pitkin County Landfill on Saturday morning. Pitkin County offered Free Dump Day to everyone last June, but officials are wondering if the deal should be offered solely to county residents. (Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times)

Pitkin County commissioners are wondering if they should take everybody’s junk or just that of their constituents.The county reinstituted Free Dump Day at its landfill in June after suspending the popular offering for two years. About 1,000 people – 1,000 vehicles, anyway – showed up to deposit junk at the dump free of charge, but only about half of them were Pitkin County residents.Landfill staffers checked IDs for the first time and asked participants where they lived in an effort to figure out just who was taking advantage of Free Dump Day, according to Chris Hoofnagle, landfill site manager. As it turned out, plenty of downvalley residents took up Pitkin County on the offer. One individual drove a pickup truck of refuse over from Lake County, on the far side of Independence Pass.

County commissioners agreed last week they need to discuss whether Free Dump Day is for anyone and everyone.”Free Dump Day is a great thing, but is it for the valley?” mused Commissioner Jack Hatfield. “It’s better to have it [trash] at our landfill than on the side of the highway,” reasoned Commissioner Dorothea Farris.

On the other hand, Farris expressed displeasure with the Garfield County commissioners’ recent refusal to support a joint trail project in the Crystal River Valley, hinting that Pitkin County taxpayers shouldn’t subsidize Free Dump Day for Garfield County residents.Free Dump Day cost Pitkin County about $30,000 – the amount the landfill waived in fees for those who disposed of material on the appointed day, Hoofnagle said.His staff is currently exploring options for offering a voucher that Pitkin County residents could use to make one free dropoff at the landfill on any day of the year, rather than designating one annual Free Dump Day.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com

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