(KMTR) -- Garbage prices may raise up soon for Sanipac customers in Springfield
as the garbage and recycling hauler has proposed a rate increase to Springfield City Council.
Sanipac is asking the city of Springfield to raise residential customers’ garbage rates by nearly 10 percent and commercial accounts or businesses by nearly 8 percent. For many customers is equates to about a 1.50 to 2 dollar rate increase per month.
The last time Sanipac raised rates for customers in Springfield was in May 2008. (In July 2009, Sanipac passed on a rate increase at Short Mountain Landfill to customers, as well.)
This time around, the waste disposal company has cited 6 reasons for the increase. First, it’s seeing less money for selling raw recyclables. Second, employee pay has increased 13% in the last 4 years and is expected to rise 3.5 to 5% in the coming years. Third, Sanipac says its invested 97% more in safety since 2009.
Fourth, diesel fuel prices are up 68% since 2009. Fifth, road taxes and licensing fees are up 45% since 2009. Finally, sixth, Sanipac says bad debt, including customers who aren’t paying their bills, is up 246% since 2009.
Springfield City Council will vote on the rate hike on Monday night, January 9th, 2012. The city’s Public Works Department has already recommended a yes vote.
Springfield Public Works says the rate hike is reasonable since the last hike came in May 2008.
Sanipac says with the rate increase, it is also expanding its commercial food composting program into Springfield. With that, it’s hoping to save significant amount of trash from hitting the landfill.
“When we need to close the Lane County Landfill, the Short Mountain Landfill it will cost millions of dollars. So if it can be delayed by another 5, 10, 20 years… every citizen has to weigh that in their own minds. Is it worth the cost to pay a little more for garbage so that you have a longer period of time before you have to spend those millions?,” says Len Goodwin, assistant Public Works Manager for the city of Springfield.
Sanipac says about 23% of the commercial waste stream is made of food waste. The company says about 20,000 tons of food waste goes into the Short Mountain Landfill each year.
The waste disposal company estimates that restaurants could reduce their dumpster loads by about 30 to 50% if they composted food waste. That reduces trash pick-up and since food waste pick-up is rated at a lower price, Sanipac says a restaurant could save about 87 dollars a month if it composted food waste.
The commercial compost program for Sanipac started in November 2011 for Eugene businesses. The program is voluntary. All of the food waste is collected and composted at Rexius and Lane Forest Products.
Sanipac provides all of Springfield’s garbage and recycling as a monopoly service under a franchise agreement. Comparatively, the city of Eugene has three licensed waste disposal companies under a licensing service. If Springfield chose to move to a licensing system, City Council would have to vote on the matter. According to Springfield Public Works, the issue has come up in the recent past, but has not been voted on.
If the rate hike passes, Sanipac’s Springfield garbage rates will still remain less than its rates in Eugene.