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Prepare to pay more for garbage hauling

City of Enumclaw utility customers will soon be paying more to have their garbage, recycling and yard waste hauled away.

Heeding a staff recommendation, members of the City Council agreed during their June 8 meeting to imposed a 4 percent increase in the rate charged for solid waste disposal. The item went before council for the first reading, meaning it will on the agenda again Monday night for final approval.

The 4 percent rate bump follows a 2 percent increase that went into effect in 2008 and isn’t likely to be the final hike customers will face. Public Works Director Chris Searcy said his department is figuring perhaps another 4 percent increase in 2010, but he stopped short of making a final prediction.

Situations could change, he said, and the number for 2010 could be different.

“Could be less, could be more,” Searcy said.

In making his presentation to council, Searcy reminded that the city’s solid waste division is an enterprise fund, meaning it must generate as much money as it expends.

During 2009, he said, revenues are expected to be $17,000 less that was originally budgeted. One factor, he said, is that recyclable materials collected and then sold by the city are commanding a lower price than in years past.

At the same time, Searcy said, operating expenses have shot up by $73,000.

As a result, Searcy will be dipping into a reserve fund that started the year at $125,000, eventually taking 80 percent of that sum.

Even with the coming 4 percent increase, Searcy defended the city’s solid waste rate and offered a comparison with other local jurisdictions.

“We’re right in line,” he said. “We’re not the lowest, but we’re definitely on the low side of the average.”

To comment on this story view it online at www.courierherald.com. Reach Kevin Hanson at khanson@courierherald.com or 360-802-8205.

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