City Council raises Republic’s francise fee, OKs $15 fine for trash bags that don’t belong in recycling bins

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local

The Lebanon City Council approved a resolution Nov. 4, at its monthly meeting, to increase the Republic Services franchise fee from 6 to 7%.
The franchise fee is a fee paid to the city by Republic Services, and a 1% increase would equate to about an additional $35,000 a year for the city, said Matt Apken, finance director.
As for rate increases made to customers by Republic Services, the council reviews rate increase requests annually. In 2014, the council approved the implementation of an annual Consumer Price Index rate methodology, which became effective in January of 2015.
Apken said Republic Services did not want to raise rates this year based on the CPI, but did want to raise rates 1% if its franchise fee was increased.
Apken and city staff have communicated with Republic Services to better understand how it sets its rates, and also got agreement from the waste disposal company “to agree on a margin of revenue not to exceed 12% for them to do an increase in rates,” Apken said.
With the new franchise fee agreement settled on, the council approved a rate increase of one percent, which makes the monthly increase for a 32-gallon cart at 24 cents, and 36 cents more for a 90-gallon cart.
Republic Services also requested – and council approved – the ability to add a contamination fee of $15 to customers whose yard or recycling bins have bags in them.
“We’re seeing bags of garbage in the recycling and yard debris because there’s so much more trash being made at home right now,” said Julie Jackson, municipal relations manager at Republic Services.
If a driver sees a bag of trash going into the hopper intended for yard debris or recycling only, they will take a picture, and a warning for first offense will be mailed to the residence, Jackson said. Further instances will result in contamination fees.
The council also approved a resolution to accept a Coronavirus Relief Fund grant from the State of Oregon. The resolution appropriates $150,000 to the General Fund Non-departmental Materials and Services Fund, and $100,000 to Information Systems Services. Expenses to the city have increased due to social distancing and additional cleaning. Also, the city will establish a utility assistance program for citizens affected by COVID.
Part of the grant will be used to reimburse miscellaneous expenses incurred on the city due to COVID, such as wash stations, masks, cleaning supplies, and the purchase of laptops for work-from-home options, Apken said.
As much as $100,000 of the grant will be earmarked for a utility assistance program. Residents who reside within the city of Lebanon may apply for funds to pay for city, electric and gas utilities. Proof must be provided showing that the applicants have been affected by COVID, and certain parameters exist to determine need and eligibility, Apken said.
The council also approved motions on the consent calendar to amend a surface transportation funds agreement and renew an agreement between the City and Lebanon School District for maintenance work.
The City Council had passed a motion in May to accept the 2020 Fund Exchange Intergovernmental Agreement with Oregon Department of Transportation. The 2020 Surface Funds Agreement provides federal gas tax funds for street capital maintenance.
This year’s funds, $191,480.82, were to be used for the reconstruction of Walker Road, associated with the Westside Interceptor Project, in 2021.
Shortly after the original agreement was approved, it was determined that a new traffic signal would be needed at the intersection of Stoltz Hill and Airport Roads, as the extension of Stoltz Hill and the upcoming development of Applegate Landing apartments warranted the prioritizing of a signal.
In April, the City of Lebanon approved an IGA with the Lebanon School District to provide certain outdoor maintenance at specific schools in exchange for $150,000. The agreement expired in June, and the new proposed agreement lasts from July 2020 to June 2021.

In other business, the council:
♦ Approved a revised Public Utility Easement at the north end of Mill Street.
♦ Agreed to enter into an IGA with the State of Oregon to conduct an auction on surplus property for the City of Lebanon. In this case, the city wants to rid itself of a transit bus it’s had since 2009, which is past its usable life and already replaced with a new vehicle, Apken said.