February 9, 2011 in City

Commissioners approve incinerator improvements

Amendment would increase tipping fees
By The Spokesman-Review
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Background and the latest updates

Getting rid of a ton of garbage may cost about $12 more next year if the Spokane City Council accepts an agreement county commissioners offered Tuesday.

Commissioners unanimously approved a contract amendment that would allow the city to pay $18 million for improvements to the electricity-generating incinerator that serves the Spokane Regional Solid Waste System.

Although Spokane owns and operates the system, Spokane County controls large expenditures.

The Waste-to-Energy Plant improvements are part of a proposed three-year extension of Wheelabrator Spokane’s expiring contract to operate the burner.

Along with rate increases charged by Wheelabrator and a likely plunge in revenue from electricity generation, the improvements are expected to boost the price of garbage disposal from the current $98 a ton to about $110 next year.

The rate could increase to $115 a ton by 2014. That’s the last year anyone outside Spokane would be obligated to use the plant under a deal reached last week.

Commissioners agreed to let the city finance the new $18 million expenditure over 10 years instead of 15 as previously proposed. That is expected to account for about $2 of the increase in the “tipping fee” on a ton of garbage.

A Wheelabrator fee increase accounts for $3.

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