Rates to rise by up to $1.35 monthly based on service level and location in urban or rural areas

Monthly garbage collection fees in unincorporated areas of Clackamas County will increase July 1 after results from an annual staff review found that a number of cost drivers are negatively impacting the efficiency of status-quo services.

County commissioners on Wednesday, June 15, approved monthly fee increases between 25 cents and $1.35 for residential and commercial solid-waste collection, as recommended by the county's Solid Waste Commission.COURTESY PHOTO: METRO - Metro workers try to keep a path clear through mounting garbage at a transfer station in January.

The Solid Waste Commission approved the recommendation on May 12 after reviewing results from a 2022 analysis of production records from the seven parent companies of local solid-waste collection franchisees.

The analysis, conducted by the county's Department of Transportation and Development, found a 2.2% increase in driver labor costs, a 5% increase in health costs for administrative staffers, a 58% increase in fuel costs and a 7.1% increase in disposal costs due to an increase to the Metro tip fee on disposed waste, and "significant" dropbox cost increases — without accounting for inflation.

Additional anticipated costs that could not be reliably estimated during the analysis including a potential increase in waste collection among local food businesses, processing costs for recyclables, and depreciation of vehicle equipment due to supply chain issues throughout 2021.

Cheryl Bell, assistant director of the department's Sustainability & Solid Waste Program told commissioners that the only fee increase proposed is to account for the 7.1% increase to the Metro tip fee, which takes effect July 1.

"It's projected for 2023, disposal costs will increase 7-8%. Doing an increase this year keeps fees in alignment with disposal cost increases as they occur and helps avoid a more significant increase later," Bell said.

The fee increases will impact ratepayer costs differently based on their service area — urban, rural, distant rural or mountain; and based on their service level, determined by the amount of waste collected from single family, multi-family or commercial sites.

A chart outlining the different fee increases across service levels and location is available here.

You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!