Vancouver garbage rates won't go up in 2014

City will reduce what Waste Connections pays in franchise fees

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

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Residential rates for garbage, recycling and yard debris collection will not increase for Vancouver city residents in 2014.

Instead of asking residents to pay about 30 cents a month more, the city will offset a 1.5 percent rate increase by decreasing the amount of money it makes provider Waste Connections pay in solid waste franchise fees. The city has a sufficient solid waste fund balance to let Waste Connections pay $230,000 less next year, Brian Carlson, director of the city's public works department, told the city council on Monday.

According to a memo from Carlson to City Manager Eric Holmes, the contract with Waste Connections authorizes rate adjustments based "on changing operating conditions including: an inflation adjustment factor tied to the (Consumer Price Index) and fuel costs, disposal tip fees, the number of customers served and fees paid to the city to support solid waste related programs."

The typical residential customer with weekly 32-gallon garbage cart service and every-other-week recycling pays $19.02 a month, Carlson wrote. A rate increase would have meant a monthly bill of $19.30, while monthly yard debris rates would have gone up from $6.90 to $7.

Self-haul customers will see an increase, Carlson wrote, from $84.28 to $85.61 per ton, while drop box and compactor customers will pay $75.81 per ton, up from $74.62.

While the city council sets rates for garbage, recycling and yard debris collection services, rates for residents in unincorporated areas are set by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, said Anita Largent with the county's environmental services department. She said the county hasn't heard yet if there will be an increase.

County yard waste rates are not going to increase in 2014, she said, as the contract does not allow for one until 2015.

Curbside recycling rates for residents in unincorporated areas will increase next year, however. Urban single monthly family rates will increase from $4.65 to $4.81, multifamily rates will go up 4 cents, to $3.22 and rural single family rates will increase from $5.86 to $5.94.