Solid Waste Rates and Charges Going Up, Natural Gas Coming Down for 2013

The Enumclaw City Council on Monday approved a 9.5 percent increase in garbage rates and 5 percent increase in yard waste rates for next year, which is tempered by a 15 percent decrease in volumetric natural gas rates starting Nov. 1.

The Enumclaw City Council approved a 9.5 percent increase in garbage rates and 5 percent increase in yard waste rates for next year due in part to increasing costs of working with King County and to the need to build up city reserves.

Public Works Director Chris Searcy explained that the operating expenditure budget for 2013 will be about $115,000 more than in 2012 due to:

  • Increased tipping fee rates for refuse at the King County Transfer Station: $51,000
  • Equipment rental: $26,000
  • Personnel changes: $29,000 that weren't accurately estimated in the 2012 budget

Searcy said the cost impact to the typical residential customer with a single 32-gallon can and yard waste service was an additional $2.23 per month. The new rates still remain in the ballpark of rates of cities nearby, he said.

Councilman Darrel Dickson asked whether the group should wait until all members were present - Councilmen Chance LaFleur, Jim Hogan and Kevin Mahelona were excused from Monday's meeting. Councilmen Mike Ennis and Sean Krebs indicated they were comfortable with moving forward with the rates increase, in part because there has not been much contention voiced by the Council or by the public.

No one spoke up during the public hearing portion of Monday's meeting regarding the proposal.

Rates were last increased a year ago by 2 percent for garbage and 5 percent for yard waste.

Meanwhile, a rate decrease in volumetric natural gas rates by 15 percent, effective Nov. 1 this year was also approved Monday.

Searcy reported that the city's natural gas utility has amassed a healthy reserve level over the last two years. Monthly base charges for both residential and commercial customers stay at $6.25 and $10, respectively. But the average monthly winter gas bill for single family residential customers would decrease by about $15 per month with an annual savings of about $109.

The city last reduced natural gas rates by 5 percent last year.

In Other News:

2013 Property Tax Levy: No one spoke during the public hearing portion of the meeting for the proposed 2013 property tax levy of $1.3674/$1,000 assessed value. A home with an assessed value of $250,000 would see a tax increase of about $16 per year. The second public hearing on the issue takes place Tuesday, Nov. 13 at which point Council is expected to take action on the relevant ordinance.

Expo Center On Track: Expo marketing director Kristen Damazio reported third quarter financial numbers and indicated they were still on track toward their breaking even goal of 2014. The Center will host an outdoors sportsmen expo in June and will move the Wine and Chocolate festival to late March to accommodate chocolatiers. The Center now also has two buildings to rent out after Peak Gymnastics moved. It will be breaking price structures into on-season and off-season rates to better capitalize on the deman for event space during the high summer months.

Unclaimed Property: The Council approved a routine item transferring its unclaimed property to the state. Finance Director Stephanie McKenzie indicated in her staff report the city makes a diligent effort to contact its payees but in this instance will be transferring 14 items to the state, per state law. Visit http://ucp.dor.wa.gov to search for all property reported to it.

Mom and Me Mobile Medical Clinic: Krebs brought forth and had approved a proposal to donate a swim pass to the Aquatic Center for a family of four, valued at $16.50 to the Mom and Me Mobile Medical Clinic, for an upcoming auction. (Read Patch story on the effort)

Upcoming Meetings:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m.: Second of four budget workshops
  • Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m.: Third of four budget workshops
  • Tuesday, Nov.13 at 7:30 p.m.: Regular City Council meeting moved due to Veteran's Day holiday; There will also be a public hearing on the property tax levy (2nd and final) as well as the first public hearing on the 2013 preliminary budget.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.: Fourth of four budget workshops


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