By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

A residential garbage rate increase will be on the Keizer City Council agenda for Monday, June 21.

The Mid-Valley Garbage and Recycling Association seeks a 7 percent increase on pickup rates. The last cost-based increase – that is, one that didn’t come without additional services – was in 1992, documents indicate.

Commercial rates will not be affected by the change. Drop box rates will increase to match that of the City of Salem.

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For example, customers with a 20-gallon garbage can without yard debris pickup would see a 77-cent monthly increase. Add the yard debris can and the total rate increase is $1.12. For 35-gallon customers the rate increase is $1.24 per month, and for 65-gallon it’s $1.69 per month.

The City of Keizer will consider in July a move that would add compost pickup to residential service, but that’s not part of the June 21 hearing.

Keizer’s two refuse pickup companies – Loren’s Sanitation and Valley Recycling and Disposal – submitted documents to the Keizertimes showing an approximate 10 percent loss on residential service. The businesses are buoyed by commercial pickup.

“The residential service, mostly because we’re picking up three carts, running three trucks down the road for every customer, is showing … a margin that needs this increase of 7 percent,” said Estle Harlan at a Keizer City Council work session in April. Harlan is a solid waste management consultant for the association.

“I hate the timing of the increases,” City Manager Chris Eppley said. “I hate the timing of the increases we had to impose as well. But I don’t think the increases are inappropriate compared to the service they’re providing, the costs they’ve absorbed over the last 13 years. They’re a private business and they should be able to make a profit at what they do, and I think we get an excellent service for a very reasonable rate.”