City considers 3-year solid waste rate plan

In keeping with SPU’s long-term strategic business plan, on Tuesday the Seattle City Council will consider a rate path for solid waste services on garbage, recycling and composting.

The rate increase would raise residential and commercial charges by an average of 4.4 percent a year over the next three years.

Under the plan, rates would increase 7.2 percent in 2017, 1.9 percent in 2018, and 4.0 percent in 2019, effective April 1 of each year.

If approved, the monthly solid waste bill for a typical residential customer (one 32-gallon garbage can, one 96-gallon food and yard waste cart and one 96-gallon recycling cart) would go from $44.85 this year to $48.10 in 2017. In 2018 and 2019, average household bills would be $49.00 and $50.95, respectively.

The proposed rates were forecast in SPU’s business plan, approved by City Council in 2014, which caps combined rate increases for all SPU services — drinking water, sewer, drainage and garbage — to an annual average of 4.6 percent through the year 2020.

Drivers of the current solid waste rate proposal include:

Under the rate plan to be considered by City Council on Tuesday, commercial solid waste bills would increase by varying amounts, depending on the type of service and the number of times the waste is collected. Here are two examples:

  • A convenience store or a busy restaurant with a 3-cubic yard non-compacted dumpster, collected once a week, would see increases of $31.18 in 2017, $8.66 in 2018 and $16.62 in 2019.
  • A 30-unit multi-family building with a 3-cubic yard non-compacted dumpster, a 96-gallon food waste container, and 3-cubic yard recycling service, would see increases of $36.55 in 2017, $10.45 in 2018, and $22.28 in 2019.

The rates proposal will be discussed by the City Council over the next several months and will be finalized as part of the budget development process in the fall.

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