Spokane County’s waste transfer stations will begin charging a $2 surcharge to pay for state-mandated environmental education and outreach programs, hazardous waste disposal and recycling drop-offs.
County spokeswoman Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter said the surcharge is needed to replace state funding, which has decreased drastically in recent years. It will be added to per-vehicle tipping fees at the transfer stations in Colbert and Spokane Valley.
Wheatley-Billeter said those programs, administered by the county, were covered by Washington’s hazardous substance tax until 2015. When low oil prices made that funding mechanism unsustainable, she said, the Legislature folded the programs into its capital budget.
A capital budget was not passed this year, meaning no funding is available for those programs, Wheatley-Billeter said. Those grant appropriations have plummeted from $28.2 million in the 2013-15 biennium to $15 million in the 2015-17 biennium and then to $0 this year, she said.
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