Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The White Salmon City Council voted unanimously on April 2 to authorize a rate study for sewer and solid waste service in the city.
"Rates have not been looked at for a number of years, and certainly have not been adjusted for inflation in that time," said Timi Keene, a member of the White Salmon City Council. "And as such we should be taking a look at those rates."
Mayor David Poucher said the process is similar to the recent study of the city's water rates.
"We're just trying to get all our staff up to speed," Poucher said. "Are our rates sufficient? Are we charging enough? Are we charging too much? It's just an internal study to see if our rates are correct."
Poucher pointed out it has been at least five years since the rates have been analyzed.
"Look at gas prices, for instance," Poucher said. "We need to analyze our costs. It will take about 4-6 weeks. We have the data; we just have to analyze it."
Poucher said the city's Public Works Director, Mike Wellman, will handle the study.
"We're just going through and trying to find out where are our mistakes and where we can improve," Poucher added. "We're doing the processes. It's not glorious but it has to be done -- and done properly and with public input."
Keene said she also favored a review of the city's garbage service ordinance.
"I'm not necessarily in favor of privatizing garbage service, but it's something that has to be looked at," she said. "Before anything happens with the garbage rates, the ordinance itself needs to be drastically overhauled to beef up recycling efforts and to reduce garbage use. The ordinance needs a comprehensive review."