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Sunnyside garbage collections may get more costly for local residents

The citizens of Sunnyside will get a chance to speak to the City Council before any decisions are made, but this past Tuesday discussions at a council workshop continued regarding a change in garbage services.

What is being proposed is a 10-year contract with Yakima Waste Systems, which currently serves the community. The contract would change services, both in cost and effectiveness.

Residents would be provided with 96-gallon garbage carts in place of three 32-gallon cans. Residents who do not generate enough garbage for the larger cans and are currently using one 32-gallon can would have a 48-gallon cart option.

The cost of garbage services would increase by 60 cents per month.

Yakima Waste Systems is also offering to provide residential curbside recycling. A 64-gallon wheeled cart would be provided to residents using the service and any recyclable materials would be disposed of in the cart.

The Sunnyside City Council has been provided two options for this recycling service. The city can impose mandatory participation or a voluntary program. For the voluntary program, the city would need 500 residents subscribing to it. The cost of the service would be $8 per month for a voluntary program and $5 monthly for a mandatory program.

Also being considered is yard waste collection services, however that comes with another monthly fee of $7.50 in a voluntary program. A mandatory program would cost each residence $6.50 per month.

Councilman Mike Farmer asked if the city could offset some of the costs for residents for a short time.

City Manager Mark Gervasi said there are funds in the city's coffers that could be utilized for that purpose.

Yakima Waste Systems Manager Scott Robertson said the rate increases are necessary because the money will pay for the new carts, as well as the truck used to collect garbage.

The cost of the truck is also why his company must have in hand a 10-year contract with the city.

Councilwoman Theresa Hancock asked if the fee for yard debris collection would be assessed regardless of the time of year and use of the cart.

"I don't like the idea of being charged whether I have a full bin or not," she said.

Councilman Vlieger, too, expressed some concerns over the rates.

"I would be remiss to (not) seek prices elsewhere," he said.

Mayor Jim Restucci agreed, stating the city should seek out quotes from other refuse collection companies to see if there is anything comparable or less expensive available to citizens of Sunnyside.

"We do need some kind of (recycling) program and education of citizens," he said. Restucci also suggested checking with the city of Grandview to find out about its garbage collections, in terms of residential fees and services that are provided, as well as to see if Grandview could potentially provide services to Sunnyside.

Restucci suggested a survey of residents to see how many are interested in a voluntary recycling program.

He also noted a public hearing must be held before any decision can be made regarding the services proposed by Yakima Waste Systems.

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