Increases by council will take effect July 1; difficulty in recycling materials accounts for first garbage rate hike since 2015; others are annual adjustments.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: PETER WONG - Finance Director Patrick O'Claire explains proposed rate increases for sewers, storm drains and water service Tuesday night (June 5) to the Beaverton City Council, which approved the increases to take effect July 1.Beaverton residents will pay more for garbage collection, sewers and storm drains, and water starting July 1.

The City Council voted Tuesday to approve rate increases. There were no public comments.

All proposed rates would take effect July 1.

The monthly rate for residential garbage collection for a 32-gallon container will increase 10.5 percent from $25.20 to $27.85.

Commercial collection rates will go up 14.4 percent.

The current rates were set on Nov. 1, 2015, when the residential rate went up 5 percent.

The primary reason for the proposed increase is the added cost incurred by waste haulers as China declines to accept shipments of waste paper and plastic for recycling unless they meet stricter standards against contamination. The problem is regionwide.

Scott Keller, senior program manager for recycling and sustainability, is on a state task force looking at the issue. Metro, the regional agency that oversees Portland area solid waste, also has a task force.

In response to a question by Councilor Cate Arnold, Keller said the long-range solution is for development of closer domestic markets for recyclable materials and a reduction in waste.

Several haulers were present in the council chambers, but none chose to testify.

Washington County commissioners approved a $2 surcharge on residential rates — about 10 percent — and a 4 percent increase in commercial rates for the same reason. Those increases took effect April 1 and apply in areas outside cities.

Meanwhile, the council approved increases in sewer and stormwater fees recommended by Clean Water Services, the regional agency responsible for sewage treatment and stormwater management in most of Washington County. Cities keep part of the proceeds — in Beaverton, that's 16.4 percent for sewers, 75 percent for stormwater — and the rest of the money goes to the regional agency.

The monthly sewer fee is proposed to increase 3 percent from $45.54 to $46.91.

The monthly stormwater fee is proposed to increase 6 percent from $10.25 to $10.78.

All the fees take into account a 5 percent right-of-way fee charged by cities to utilities, including public agencies.

As for water, the city staff proposes a 3.3 percent increase from $3.07 to $3.17 monthly for every 100 cubic feet used, plus an increase of 7.1 percent in the demand charge based on meter size. For most residential meters, the new demand charge would be $15 monthly.

For an average household, the increase is $1 per month in the demand charge — for 5/8-inch and ¾-inch meters, which constitute 89 percent of all city water meters — and 80 cents per month for water usage assumed at 800 cubic feet.

In a survey of 13 public water providers, Beaverton's projected monthly cost of $40.36 for a household using 800 cubic feet puts it ninth on the list. Tigard topped the list at $61.26, based on rates in effect in May. Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Tualatin and Raleigh Water District were less than Beaverton.

Water, sewer and storm drain rates are set annually.

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