Enumclaw residents are going to be seeing a bump in King County’s solid waste rates this coming year.
Calling it a “modest” rate increase, the county sent out a press release Sept. 27 announcing that the typical single family curbside customer should start seeing a 77 cent (or 4 percent) average increase in their monthly bill starting Jan. 1, 2017.
King County Solid Waste Division Director Pat McLaughlin said the bill increase trickles down from the disposal fee increase at county solid waste facilities, which commercial haulers pay when they dump waste at these facilities.
The disposal rates will be increasing from $129.40 per ton of waste to $144.34 per ton, and the minimum disposal fee is also increasing from a flat $22 to $24.25.
This is the first rate increase in four years.
“We held what was planned to be a two year rate for four years,” McLaughlin said, explaining that inflationary pressures and modernization are the reasons why the rate needed go up.
The city of Enumclaw would address the question of a rate increase during the 2017 budget deliberations.
For example, a new waste facility in south King County is going to be replacing the current 1960s-era Algona station.
“Some of our facilities quite literally can barely accommodate a modern-sized garbage truck,” he continued. “Things have changed in the last 50 years.”
Much of the new revenue is going toward the operation of transfer stations and the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill, as well as the new Factoria Transfer Station (currently under construction) and the south King County station that will replace the Algona station,
The Enumclaw Transfer and Recycling Station will also be seeing some additional funds.
The local transfer station, in conjunction with stations around the county, recently instituted a new recycling program designed to help separate recycling materials that gets included with waste.
McLaughlin said that King County residents and businesses recycle 54 percent of the waste they generate, “but even so, 70 percent of what gets buried can actually be recycled.”
Some of the new revenue is going toward resource recovery to mitigate that 70 percent. In total, the Solid Waste Division hopes to recover more than 42,000 additional tons of recyclable material in the next year.
Additionally, the new revenue is going to fund a staff position at the Enumclaw station to help users determine what is waste, what is recyclable and where to put it all.
The Solid Waste Division noted that even with the rate increases, its rates remain lower than the Seattle and Pierce County facilities.