6% increase sought for trash rates
To rebuild the city's two garbage facilities, Mayor Greg Nickels on Friday proposed raising Seattle's trash-collection rates 6. 2 percent next year...
Seattle Times staff reporter
To rebuild the city's two garbage facilities, Mayor Greg Nickels on Friday proposed raising Seattle's trash-collection rates 6.2 percent next year.
If the City Council approves the rate increase, the monthly bill for a typical single-family home, with a 32-gallon garbage can and yard-waste service, would increase from $21.55 this year to $22.90 in 2008.
The monthly bill for a typical commercial Dumpster, which holds three cubic yards, would increase from $251.78 this year to $266.74 in 2008.
"We're making this investment largely in the facilities that are going to allow us to help increase recycling rates in the city and reduce the amount of waste we're going to put into the landfills," said Marty McOmber, the mayor's spokesman.
Garbage rates last went up at the beginning of this year, when the typical residential bill increased by 4.4 percent and commercial rates increased by 14 percent.
Self-haul rates, which customers pay when they take their trash to the garbage facilities, would also increase, by 18.2 percent. The increase would eliminate the city subsidy on those rates, according to Seattle Public Utilities.
Most of the new money would be used to rebuild the city's garbage facilities in Wallingford and South Park, which the city expects to cost $110 million.
The transfer stations, where garbage collectors and other customers drop off trash, were built in the 1960s.
Trash is then shipped to a landfill in Oregon.
City officials want to redesign the stations to increase recycling and to improve worker safety.
Andy Ryan, spokesman for Seattle Public Utilities, said the department has a good safety record, but that the stations are both "literally falling apart. There are frequent outages at both facilities. Various things break, putting the station out of commission for various amounts of time."
Councilmember Richard Conlin, who chairs the utilities committee, does not expect to make major changes to the rate proposals. "It's not a very large rate hike, and it's perfectly understandable" why the rates are going up, he said.
The City Council recently passed a law requiring all single-family homes to subscribe to food-waste recycling beginning in 2009. While there aren't set rates yet for that new service, Conlin said the increase will be "minimal."
Sharon Pian Chan: 206-464-2958 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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