Council approves 3.5 percent garbage rate hike for Lebanon

The City Council Wednesday approved a 3.5-percent increase in garbage collection rates.

“It averages about 79 cents per residential customer,” said Julie Jackson, municipal manager for Republic Services. “This is the highest it’s been since we’ve instituted that refuse rate, but I think we talked about that at the time, that it sort of fluctuates. Last year, I think it was about 15 cents per customer or something. We try really hard to keep the rates at a fairly steady level and not make it too hard on folks, to get a big giant increase all at one time.”

The rate increase will take effect on Jan. 1.

The increase is based on a “refuse rate index” that incorporates the consumer price index, fuel pricing and disposal cost, Jackson said.

Each component of the index is given weight, incorporating 65 percent of the Portland-Salem Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers CPI, 10 percent of increases in fuel prices and 25 percent of increases to the Coffin Butte disposal rate. The results are added to determine the refuse rate index.

As of June 30, the CPI increased by 4.2 percent over the previous year. Fuel costs increased by 1.6 percent, and the disposal rate increased by 2.5 percent.

About 60 percent of residential customers use a 35-gallon cart, Jackson said. Lebanon has 4,688 residential customers. Of them, 2,758 have 35-gallon carts. Only four have 65-gallon carts. About 1,700 have 90-gallon carts, the largest.

The price for a 35-gallon can will be $22.38 per month.

The 3.5-percent increase applies to all of the services offered by Republic.

It is the highest increase Republic has sought since instituting the refuse rate index, Jackson said. Last year, the increase was an average of 15 cents per month.

Jackson shared statistics for recycling.

Republic is not able to calculate Lebanon alone because trucks are in Lebanon, Linn County and Albany and refuse from all those communities is often in the same truck on the same day, Jackson said. Lebanon is a part of the statistics.

In 2016, Republic collected 7,598 tons of co-mingled recycling, Jackson said. That is up from 2015 by 832 tons.

“It tells us that people are doing a really great job of that,” she said. “The number that I think is important for you guys is in 2016, we collected 10,805 of organic material in Linn County. That’s up by 777 tons from the year before and up by 1,136 tons from the year before that.”

The only real difference is that Lebanon decided to collect more organic material, she said. “We really can attribute a lot of that increase to the citizens of Lebanon, so bravo for you on that.”

Republic added co-mingling to Linn County that year, Jackson said, and that’s the likely source of the increase in the co-mingled recycling statistic.

Before the organics cart went weekly, Lebanon had a lot of 65-gallon carts, Jackson said. She was unable to cite exact numbers, but said many customers downsized to the 35-gallon cart.

“It’s just a really good success story,” Jackson said. “It’s environmentally sound, and I think it probably, for some people, they were actually saving money.”

Present and voting to approve the rate increase were Jason Bolen, Bob Elliott, Floyd Fisher, Robert Furlow and Rebecca Grizzle.

Wayne Rieskamp and Mayor Paul Aziz were absent.