Enumclaw residents with smaller garbage bins (32 gallons or less) will end up paying more under this new rate structure, while those with larger bins will end up paying less. Photo by Ray Miller-Still

Enumclaw residents with smaller garbage bins (32 gallons or less) will end up paying more under this new rate structure, while those with larger bins will end up paying less. Photo by Ray Miller-Still

Enumclaw officially adopts new garbage collection rates

Check out how much your bill may grow or shrink, depending on how much trash you produce.

Increased rates for the collection of trash, recycling and yard waste have been approved by the Enumclaw City Council.

The city’s governing board had been considering a new rate structure and made it official during an Oct. 22 meeting.

When the new year rolls around, here’s what city customers can expect:

• residents with a 20-gallon mini-cart will pay $25.68 per month, or almost $7 more than the current rate;

• residents with a 32-gallon cart will pay $28.45, or about $4 more;

• residents with a a 64-gallon cart will pay $35.81, about $3 less, and those with 96-gallon carts will see their rate drop to $43.18, about $9 per month less;

• for commercial customers, all will see their monthly rate decrease, but they will now incur an additional fee for each recycling bin.

When all the new numbers are crunched, residential charges will be higher but commercial customers should see a decrease of 6.8 percent (with desired recycling being a separate issue).

The higher rates are spurred by a host of issues. Primary among those is a 4.6 percent hike in the amount it costs the city to dump trash at the King County-owned transfer station.

When it comes to recycling, costs have increased due to a decision by China to stop accepting a great deal of the American supply. As a result, U.S. cities and towns are looking at much higher costs to handle recycling.

Prior to the council’s Oct. 22 vote, City Administrator Chris Searcy noted that citizens had recently raised questions about recycling; namely, why residential customers are forced to pay for the service and commercial customers get to choose.

Aside from history – Enumclaw has never forced its business community to recycle – Searcy noted that most participate willingly. The city has 444 commercial customers, he said, and 267 of those participate in recycling; that amounts to 610 carts in service, as most use more than one bin.

Councilman Chance La Fleur supported the assessment of recycling fees on residential customers. “We’re being good stewards of our environment to promote recycling,” he said.

In other action during their Oct. 22 meeting, members of the Enumclaw City Council:

• renewed a contract with Dr. Nancy Becker, who serves as the city health officer and, in that role, provides medical care to jail inmates.

Becker has treated Enumclaw Police Department inmates since 2004 as an independent contractor. The city is mandated to provide care to those in custody.

Becker’s last agreement with the city was signed in 2014. The new contract, taking effect in 2019, calls for payment of $175 per call during the week (up from $150) and $300 for calls at night or on weekends.

According to a report provided to council, Becker responds to an average of between 45 and 50 calls per year.

• authorized a contract that will help lead to the development of paved trails on the north side of town.

The council authorized a pact with Huitt Zollars. The international consulting firm, which has offices in Seattle and Tacoma, will assist with the preliminary engineering phase of the project under terms of the contract that pays nearly $190,000.

The project ultimately calls for a trail along the south side of Battersby Avenue, stretching from Garrett Street to Farman Street; the second section of trail begins at Battersby and heads north, nearly to the city limits at McHugh Avenue. In all, the project entails 1.4 miles of trail, 10 feet in width.

The city is pushing an aggressive timeline, as construction funding must be obligated by late September 2019. If it is not, the city will be obligated to repay money now being spent.

Jeff Lincoln, the city’s public works director, warned that things may not go according to the city’s plan.

“There is a substantial risk” that the city could miss the 2019 deadline, he said, due to the complex nature of the project. “This is going to be very challenging. I don’t want to give a false impression that this is going to be a slam dunk.”

Both Lincoln and Mayor Jan Molinaro emphasized that the project will move forward, even if the September 2019 deadline is missed. Money from park impact fees will be used if the federal grant has to be repaid.

“Either way, we’re going to have plans for the trail,” Molinaro said.

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