Garbage rates upped in Enumclaw

Enumclaw utility rates will be creeping upward early in 2017, with a 9 percent hike in trash collection leading the way.

Solid waste rates are increasing in Enumclaw by nine percent in 2017 and another five percent in 2018. File image.

Enumclaw utility rates will be creeping upward early in 2017, with a 9 percent hike in trash collection leading the way.

Citing increased costs for tipping fees – the amount charged at the regional landfill – along with the need for new equipment, the Enumclaw City Council has agreed to increase solid waste disposal rates in each of the next two years.

Solid waste is the collective term for the utility that deals with the collection of garbage, yard waste and recycling.

Enumclaw residents can expect a 9 percent rate increase in February 2017, plus a 5 percent bump in January 2018.

With the increase – according to information provided by the city – the cost impact to the typical residential customer with a single 32-gallon can and yard waste service will increase by $2.81 per month in 2017 and $1.70 in 2018.

In a memo to the City Council, city staff noted the Solid Waste Utility’s 2017 budget is $215,000 greater than in 2016. As an enterprise fund, collections are required to match financial expenditures.

There are two primary reasons for the increased expenses. First, King County is increasing tipping fees by 12 percent, a cost the city cannot escape. Second, the city is paying for the new, automated garbage collection system that recently was implemented. There’s the cost of two new trucks, to the tune of more than $300,000, plus the cost of trash containers provided to all customers, totaling another $170,000.

The city took out an low-interest loan to purchase the new carts and must repay the money during the next decade.

Solid waste rates did not increase in 2016, but customers saw a 3 percent bump on Jan. 1, 2015.

Smaller rates increases are coming Jan. 1 for both water and wastewater. Customers will see 2.4 percent increases for both those utilities, effective Jan. 1. The rate hikes are identical because both are tied to the Consumer Price Index.

There will be no increase in natural gas costs.

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