The Enumclaw City Council voted 5-2 Monday night in favor of increasing rates for garbage by 2 percent and for yard waste by 5 percent for 2012.
Public Works Director Chris Searcy explained in his staff report that 2012 expenditures are expected to be about $53,000 more than they were in 2011 due in large part to increased tipping fee rates for refuse at the King County transfer station and for yard waste disposal at Cedar Grove Compost.
King County is raising its transfer station fee in 2012 from $95 per ton to $109 per ton, Searcy said. Additionally, the department experienced a significant 40 percent increase mid-year in charges for disposing of yard waste at Cedar Grove.
The small rate increases for 2012 will help the city avoid the need for a larger increase in the next few years when equipment replacement is necessary by increasing the fund balance by $15,500, he said.
In fact, if the utility did not increase rates, it still retains more than the minimum amount it needs in reserves, as set by Council. To this point, Councilman Jeff Beckwith explained he didn't support the rate increase. "I think it's unneeded," he said.
Council's policy is that city funds need to retain 8 percent of operating expenditures in reserve. With the rate increase, the funds would exceed 8 percent.
Finance Director Stephanie McKenzie said during the first reading of this ordinance at the November 14 meeting that a State Auditor's review of city finances recommended that the city's general fund actually retain 16 percent of operating expenditures in reserve in order to support operations for two months. Pressed by Councilman Rich Elfers then about the Solid Waste Utility fund in this case, she said she wasn't sure if that recommendation applies here.
Here's a summary of what the new rates will be, effective Jan. 1, 2012:
- One 20-gallon mini-can: $14.43 per month
- One 32-gallon can: $18.78 per month
- Two 32-gallon cans: $29.92 per month
- Three 32-gallon cans: $40.33 per month
- Additional incidental cans: $3.75 per collection
(This includes the service of curbside collection of recyclables on alternate weekly pickup.)
- One 96-gallon wheeled cart: $8.98 per month
- Second 96-gallon wheeled cart: $8.10 per month
- Additional 96-gallon wheeled cart: $7.07 per month
- Additional bagged or properly bundled yard waste, 45-gallon bag maximum, 50-pound maximum weight: $3.86 per bag or bundle per collection.