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Valley residents may face added fee for dumping at county sites

Spokane Valley residents who haul their own garbage to the regional transfer station on Sullivan Road are being told they should contact Spokane Valley City Council members if they have questions regarding a planned change in garbage service later this year.

Staffers at the Valley Recycling Center and Transfer Station, 3941 N. Sullivan Road, have been handing out the sheets with phone numbers and an email address.

So far, the City Council has received only a handful of calls from people wondering what is going to happen later this year, said Carolbelle Branch, spokeswoman for Spokane Valley.

Earlier this month, the Spokane Valley City Council voted to break away from the combined regional solid waste system in favor of a private contract with Sunshine Disposal & Recycling, 2405 N. University Road.

City officials said there will be little change in basic garbage services, although Sunshine will be collecting residential garbage and other waste materials at its University Road facility.

The regional system is shifting in November from a Spokane city operation to one overseen by Spokane County commissioners.

An estimated 37 percent of Spokane Valley residents haul their own garbage, hazardous waste, recyclable material and yard waste to the regional disposal facility. They may have to switch to the Sunshine facility.

As soon as the City Council vote was taken, customers at the Valley transfer station began asking questions about the change, said Ken Gimpel, assistant utilities director for solid waste.

Rather than expect staffers to answer those questions, the staffers are handing out sheets with contact information. Those sheets direct the public to call the Spokane Valley City Council phone number at (509) 720-5106 if they have questions about the new Sunshine contract.

The flier also recommends that customers drive by the Sunshine facility on University Road.

Questions involving operations of the Valley and Colbert transfer stations should be directed to the county’s solid waste manager at (509) 477-7281, the sheet says.

County officials said they may have to implement a two-tier fee system at the county’s two transfer stations to make up for the subsidy the system provides for individual residential disposal, recycling, yard waste and household hazardous waste.

Residents of Spokane Valley could be charged an additional fee since that city will no longer be a participant in the regional system, county officials said.