Starting Jan. 1, Hood River Garbage will increase its garbage collection rates by 3.3 percent to offset rising operational costs.
While consumers will only notice their bills go up by a few cents — $0.13 for weekly curbside service of a 32 gallon can, $0.07 for a 20 gallon can — “even 3.3 percent can have an effect on people, so we try to be very conscious of the effect it has on people,” said Jim Winterbottom, Hood River Garbage’s district manager.
The Hood River County Board of Commissioners approved the requested rate increase following a Dec. 17 public hearing.
The rate change is based on the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures price changes over time. The CPI showed that, from June 2017 to June 2018, on average, costs increased by 3.9 percent “and we believe this is a good indicator of our overall experience,” Winterbottom said in a letter to County Administrator Jeff Hecksel.
Wasco County Landfill has an arrangement with Wasco County to adjust their rates by 85 percent of the CPI which, in this case, comes out to a 3.3 percent increase, Winterbottom said.
“Historically, we follow the Wasco County Landfill increase,” he said at the public hearing.
“I don’t like being here asking for an increase as much as anybody, but disposal is our biggest expense.”
Because the rate increase is meant to compensate for the rising landfill cost, individual rates will change by slightly different percentages depending on the disposable weight component of each rate — for example, since studies show that a smaller can typically has a higher volume to pounds ratio than a larger can, the rate for the smaller can will increase by slightly more than 3.3 percent while the larger can’s rate will increase by slightly less — but Winterbottom said the rate increase will average out to 3.3 percent over the whole structure.
Other services that have risen in cost include healthcare, truck and equipment repair, fuel and container expense, Winterbottom said.
For more information, contact Hood River Garbage at 541-386-2272, or visit their website: www.hoodrivergarbage.com.