Photo by Emily Mentzer
Starting Jan. 1, residents of Monmouth will see an 8 percent increase in garbage collection from Brandt’s Sanitary Service.
As of Wednesday, December 9, 2015
MONMOUTH — Starting Jan. 1, residents of Monmouth will see an 8 percent increase in garbage collection from Brandt’s Sanitary Service.
The Monmouth City Council approved the increase after much discussion at its Dec. 1 meeting.
Before unanimously approving the rate adjustment, councilors had questions about recycling, costs and how the 8 percent was determined.
Councilor Jesse Shafer asked what Brandt’s was doing to increase recycling efforts.
“We’re selling the materials that have been separated,” said Estle Harlan, solid waste management consultant for Brandt’s. “It only covers about 10 percent of the cost of picking it up.”
She said when Oregon adopted the Opportunity Recycle Act in 1983, state officials knew it would cost a premium to recycle.
“We know it will not cover the costs,” Harlan said. “Some jurisdictions are looking to plug in a 30 percent loss over last year on material sales.”
Prices are going up at every level of the garbage collection business, except for the price of fuel, Harlan said.
Councilor Jon Carey asked why, as people recycle more, the tipping costs at the landfill are so relevant.
“That would be true if people were not now disposing more,” Harlan said. “We’re recycling more, but we’re still disposing more, so we don’t see the tons going down on the solid waste side dramatically. We’re a throw-away society.”
The company is working with a 0.03 percent operating margin, Harlan said, and would like to be closer to 8 percent. Rates have not been raised since 2012.
Carey said he would like to do what was necessary to keep Brandt’s in business.
“I think it’s in our best interest to keep Brandt’s viable … to do everything we can to assist the profitability and viability of Brandt’s Sanitary Service,” he said.
The increase will mean $1.64 more per month for an average residential customer with a 35-gallon cart.
The Independence City Council heard a request for the same increase at its Tuesday meeting, which was after press time.