Home Community Lifestyle Trash talking at the trash compactor

Trash talking at the trash compactor

Heber, AZ
At far left is Garett Larsen who addressed questions at the May 8th Sanitation Board meeting. Seated at table from left are board members James White, Randy Delong, Mel Bowers and Dennis Lofstedt.

About a month ago employees were laid off and seemingly new charges were levied at confused customers by new faces, creating quite a hubbub at the Heber-Overgaard trash compactor. Rumors were growing by the day at what in the world was going on out there.


As it turns out, the charges are not new, but they have been the same charges that have been posted on a sign at the compactor and set by our Sanitation Board since 2002. At the May 8, 2018 meeting, this was explained by the board members. Those members in attendance were  Mel Bowers, President, Randy Delong, VP, James White, and Dennis Loftstedt. Paula Hunt is the board secretary. This board was appointed by the Navajo County Board of Supervisors the last three election cycles as no one volunteered to run for the office. 


Garett Larsen attended the meeting on behalf of  Larsen Waste to answer residents’ questions. He explained Larsen Waste won the contract bid for the Heber-Overgaard compactor for the next three years. The compactor employees become employees for whoever wins the bid every three years and are not employees of the Sanitation Board. Larsen Waste had received some complaints from residents. Also, there were some other issues like the money sent to the Board didn’t seem to match the trash they were hauling out. Without laying blame, they decided it was time to revamp the operations; they replaced employees and began enforcing the Board’s rules for the compactor that were already in place.


Heber-Overgaard property owners pay taxes to use the compactor. Additional fees residents pay to dump large items such as appliances or remodeling waste, helps to offset sanitation taxes which haven’t increased in years. The Board explained that the tax monies are collected for the Sanitation Board  by Navajo County (for a fee) but don’t all arrive in one or two lump sums per property owners’ due dates. Instead they are paid by the county to the Sanitation Board sporadically throughout the year. The Board’s monthly costs paid to the contract holder are considerable and consist of a monthly flat rate plus tonnage.


With the new contract, the monthly flat fees are $11,500 per month year one, $12,250 per month year two and $13,000 per month year three. Some months the tonnage added pushes the totals to $20,000 or more. So the more we dump, the higher the costs, thus, the extra fees help to cover the tonnage. 


Our sanitation district is run on a fiscal year basis, so their year end occurs in June when money is sparse but, our busiest month occurs in July. Lots of visitors equals lots of trash. The Board is sometimes barely able to cover expenses. 


Businesses that use the compactor pay different rates than residents which makes sense since they are a for profit entity.


The Sanitation Board meetings are set for the second Tuesday of the month, however, since there isn’t usually much to discuss, they may not meet each time. When they do meet it’s at the HOME Center True Value at 6:00 p.m.


The residents that attended the May 8th board meeting were a little riled up in the beginning but everyone was able to have their questions answered and the atmosphere had calmed down by the meeting’s conclusion.


The Mogollon Rim News did leave a message with Navajo County regarding payment of monies to the Sanitation Board to learn how their process worked, but had not received a return call as of press time.