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Tri-County Disposal Seeking 20 Percent Raise In County Garbage Rates

The company that collects and disposes of most of Klickitat County’s residential and commercial solid waste is seeking an average 20.1 percent increase in the rates it charges its customers.

Republic Services-owned Rabanco Ltd., doing business as Tri-County Disposal, filed its request for a proposed general rate increase on Jan. 14. The proposed rates for residential and commercial customers would generate an additional $229,247 in operating revenue for Goldendale-based Tri-County Disposal.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WU-TC), which regulates and sets rates for garbage collection by private vendors in the state, plans to consider a staff recommendation concerning Tric-County’s request on Feb. 27 in Olympia.

According to the cover letter accompanying Republic’s filing, Tri-County hasn’t had a general increase in rates in more than 3 years. A WUTC-approved rate in-crease of 11.7 percent (for an increase of $123,500 in operating revenue) took effect Nov. 1, 2011.

“In that time we have experienced inflationary pressures on key operating costs,” Connor Vander Zalm, a senior market analyst for Republic, wrote in the cover letter. “The proposed rates will offset increases in labor, fuel, maintenance, healthcare, pension, and other general operating expenses.”

According to Hal Spencer, a media relations specialist for the WUTC, “The company’s filing proposes to increase all rates for solid waste collection for all customers the company serves in Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima counties, and add new rates to begin service to customers in White Salmon.”

If approved by the WUTC, Tri-

County’s proposed rates would be-come effective on March 1 and would affect about 5,700 Tri-County customers in Klickitat, Ska-mania, and Yakima counties. The WUTC reported that Tri-County has about 4,106 residential, 638 commercial, and 48 drop-box customers. The numbers include city of White Salmon residents (863) and businesses (42) that will be-come Tri-County customers on March 1.

The proposed residential rate of $14.40 per month for one can is 19 percent higher than what most customers are currently paying for service. The current rate is $11.99 per month for weekly collection. (White Salmon customers are still paying $16 a month for service through the city’s soon-to-be-dissolved Refuse Department.) White Salmon customers would realize a cost savings of $19.20 per year under Tri-County’s proposed rate.

A 20.1 percent increase is proposed for commercial customers. As an example, the cost of dumping a 3-yard container would increase from $26.13 to $31.39 per month for weekly collection. The container rental fee also would increase, from $13.50 a month to $16.22 a month.

The fees Republic Services charges to dump garbage at its four transfer stations in Klickitat County are not included in the current rate proposal.

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