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City to absorb garbage fee increase

Yakima Waste Systems, Inc. Manager Scott Robertson was on hand at this past Monday night's Sunnyside City Council workshop to discuss an increase in the fee for disposal services.

The city of Sunnyside contracts with Yakima Waste Systems, Inc. to provide garbage collection services to the community. Effective Jan. 1 Yakima County is raising its disposal fees at its facilities by 14.28 percent.

In order to cover this cost, Robertson told the council Yakima Waste Systems, Inc. would need to increase its rate by 4.5 percent.

Currently, Sunnyside residents pay $7.49 monthly for a three-can rate. A 1.5 yard dumpster is currently $48.40.

Sunnyside City Councilwoman Theresa Hancock asked Sunnyside Interim City Manager Jim Bridges how this would affect the garbage fund and if the city would have the ability to pick up this increase.

Bridges said the fund has a healthy balance and thought the city could absorb the increase in disposal rates without passing the cost on to local residents.

Sunnyside Interim Finance Director Bob Noland told the council the 4.5 percent increase would add approximately $36,000 a year to city expenditures from the garbage fund.

Council agreed that the city should absorb the increase in fees.

Also at Monday night's workshop the council heard from Sunnyside Fire Chief Aaron Markham about the Yakima County EMS levy that is set to expire in 2013.

The levy helps cover costs related to providing EMS to victims of sudden illness and injury throughout Yakima County.

Markham wanted to know if council was satisfied with the cut Sunnyside gets from the levy and if council has any recommendations as far as increasing the amount levied against local residents.

Currently the levy collects 25ยข per $1,000 of assessed property values. This equals about $36 a year for a home valued at $140,000.

Markham is bringing this to council attention because Yakima County will more than likely try to renew the levy sooner than the 2013 expiration date.

Markham said he didn't see a need to increase the costs to property owners, stating that he feels the revenues currently earned are sufficient. That's mainly because the EMS levy isn't the only source of income for the city's ambulance service.

The city will receive approximately $141,000 this year and is expected to receive $160,000 in 2010. Markham said the revenue helps with training costs and salaries.

Markham said fire chiefs in Yakima County are going to their respective councils to solicit opinions on whether or not to increase the levy. Once this information is gathered a recommendation will be forwarded to the elections committee.

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