City looking at garbage/recycling rate change for 2021

by Richard Uhlhorn

Chris Bell of Bell & Associates presented the Chelan City Council with proposed rate changes for garbage pickup and recycling at a City Workshop on Tuesday, November 17.

The City is considering a rate adjustment to its garbage/recycling for residents and commercial customers for 2021 and beyond.

Currently, the City is charging $24.59 per 64 gallon cart and 40.47 per 96 gallon cart. Most customers have a 64 gallon cart. Recycling is included in the $24.59 rate. Bell has proposed a new collection rate of $29.35 for 2021. “It is a pretty sizeable increase,” said Bell. “In my opinion these rates are comparable.” The City of Cashmere is charging $29.60 for garbage/recycling pickup. Zippy Disposal, which services outside the City chargers $24.40, but that doesn’t include recycle material. Zippy charges an extra $21.83 to pick up recyclable material.

The new rate will go into effect when and if the City Council adopts its new rate schedule.

Public Works Director Jake Youngren addressed the recycling issue and stated that it is volatile right now. Bell added that since China stopped taking recycled material it has become an expensive issue. However Bell said that some domestic processors are adding capacity which might add increased demand for recycled material. Youngren said that a couple of these businesses are in Washington and that could lead to reduced costs as the markets develop.

Recycling brought up the issue of purchasing a $50,000 commercial glass crusher. Councilman Chris Baker stated that the Lake Chelan Wine Alliance should be participating in the purchase and operation of a crusher. “It would be nice if they pitched in,” said Baker. “It’s more than fair that they pitch in monetarily.”

Erin McCardle added that most of the valley’s wineries exist outside of the City limits. “We need a much more robust business plan for this,” said McCardle. She also stated that a there needs to be a large contribution for the glass crusher from Chelan County and a financial commitment from the Wine Alliance. “It shouldn’t be all borne by the City of Chelan.”

Financial Director Steve Thornton stated that the City would not release the money to purchase the machine without an agreement in place with partners. Youngren added that the crusher is essentially a regional operation.

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