Blaming the “Seattle stomp,” Waste Management of Spokane is seeking rate increases for garbage collection in unincorporated portions of northern Spokane County and southern Stevens County.
Waste Management General Manager Eric Merrill said a rate hike is needed in part because customers are stomping more garbage into each can.
He said the phenomenon was well-documented in Seattle when that city imposed big landfill rate increases.
A study showed that Waste Management’s residential customers put an average of 35.5 pounds in each can during the last three months of 1994, compared with 31.9 pounds in the same period in 1993 - an 11.3 percent increase.
Business customers stomped even harder and got 12.1 percent more weight in their containers, Merrill said.
The company would collect 90 gallons of compostable yard waste for slightly less than the difference between regular one-can and twocan service with 30-gallon cans.
Merrill said Waste Management would provide 90-gallon plastic cans on wheels and empty them weekly for $6.03 a month, from March through November.
The rate would drop to $2.01 for monthly collections in December through February.
Residential rates for regular onecan service would rise $2.20, to $13.25 a month. The two-can rate would rise $2.80, to $19.65.
In areas with recycling service, the new rates would be $15.25 for onecan service and $21.65 for two-can service.
But there will be no rate increase for recycling service.
The new yard-waste service and the rate increases both would take effect March 1 if approved by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.
Merrill said the residential increases - up to 19.9 percent - reflect the elimination of subsidies from business customers.
He said the subsidization was discovered when the company improved its accounting methods in September 1993.
The utilities commission insists that each class of customers pay its fair share, Merrill said.
For Spokane County businesses, the rate for each collection from a two-cubic-yard container would rise $1.31, to $20.47, a 6.8 percent increase.
Residential customers in Suncrest and other parts of Stevens County would pay $10.20 for one-can service and $14.45 for two-can service.
The new rate for each collection from a two-cubic-yard commercial container would be $17.82.
In addition to citing the cost shift from businesses to individuals and the Seattle stomp, Merrill said the proposed increases reflect a planned March 1 increase in incineration fees, from $90 to $97 a ton.
He said each factor contributed about one-third to Waste Management’s proposed rate hikes.
xxxx Where to comment Comments on Waste Management’s proposed garbage rate increase may be sent to: Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA 99021.
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