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County

cutbacks could alter city trash collection

By Kevin Hanson

The Courier-Herald

A budget crunch within King County's solid waste circles could impact those who lug their garbage can to the curb each week in Enumclaw.

Fallout over the way the county handles its in-house business could cause the local transfer station - where garbage trucks dump their loads - to be closed two days per week. Suddenly, with no place to get rid of refuse, the city would have to shift the way it handles garbage collection and disposal.

The city recently learned the county is considering closing the transfer station, located east of 284th Avenue Southeast on Battersby Avenue, two days per week - either Tuesday and Wednesday or Wednesday and Thursday. If that happened, the city of Enumclaw would have three options, according to Public Works Director Chris Searcy. The city could shift its days of garbage collection (now Monday through Friday), haul trash directly to the county-owned Cedar Hills disposal site, or look for an alternative dump site. All would likely be more expensive than the current system.

Searcy was scheduled to meet with representatives from the county's solid waste division yesterday (Tuesday) and was hoping to get some questions answered.

At the heart of the problem is a decision coming from deep within King County government. The county owns the Cedar Hills site, which is operated by its solid waste division; garbage haulers, such as the city of Enumclaw, pay for the right to dump there. County officials recently determined that the Cedar Hills site, near Renton, operates under the auspices of the county's general fund; thus, the solid waste division should reimburse the general fund, shuffling money from one county department to another under terms of an annual lease. The county figured the solid waste division should be paying the general fund approximately $7 million per year.

Those who administer the solid waste division decided they don't want to raise rates, so the only other option is to reduce costs. And one option is to cut back on hours of operation at transfer stations.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com

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