Arcata garbage/recycling rate hike planned

Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union

ARCATA – China’s curtailment of imported recyclable material is about to affect local garbage and recycling customers, according to a city staff report. The City Council on Sept. 5 mulled several alternatives, settling on one which would hike rates by a flat fee for all ratepayers, depending on their service type and level.

According to a staff report, Humboldt Waste Management Authority’s (HWMA) new contract with Recology Arcata for processing recyclables began Sept. 6. This will affect a number of member agencies, including the City of Arcata.

Arcata will now have to pay $69.56 per ton of recyclable processed, an overall increase in revenue of $193,725. Single-family customers generate 65 percent of the collected recyclables – 1,749 of 2,704 tons.

Three options were presented by staff.

• Option 1: Spread the increase out among all types of ratepayers based on the recyclable tonnage generated by single family, multi-family and commercial customers spread over the total number of totes and recycling bins, creating a flat fee added to all accounts and service levels. This was the recommended option and the one adopted by the council for further discussion. It distributes costs to where the tonnage is generated and simplifies future rate changes. Single-family customers would pay $2.96 more per month; multi-family and commercial accounts would pay $6.65 more.

• Option 2: A universal cost increase based on the current rate structure, resulting in a 5.7 percent increase for everyone. This would bring a range of increases: for 72 cents per month for bi-monthly 60-gallon bins; $2.87monthly. Multi-family and commercial one-yard bin customers would pay $10.39, five-yard bins would cost $46.54 and for 30-yard bins, $237.42.

• Option 3: Boost rates based on the percentage of tonnage generated by the three categories – single-family, multi-family and commercial – spread over the entire customer base. Single-family customers would pay 12.1 percent more; multi-family and commercial customers 2.9 percent more. This would add $1.53 to $6.09 for monthly 60-gallon pickup; $5.28 for a one-yard bin; $23.64 for a five-yard bin and $120.62 for a 30-yard bin.

A public hearing on rates will be held at the council’s Nov. 7 meeting. Per Prop 218 requirements, a fee change notice will be mailed to all Arcata property owners.

This story includes corrections from the print version.