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City of Sunnyside reaches settlement with garbage hauler

The Sunnyside City Council unanimously approved a settlement agreement with Yakima Waste Systems, Inc. regarding payment errors that resulted in the city underpaying the firm $45,068 for garbage service.

The city has agreed to pay $10,129 to settle the matter, with no liability admitted on either side.

The dispute arose from a change in garbage pick-up in Sunnyside, during which the billing also was changed by Yakima Waste Systems, Inc.

Previous to the change in billing, the city took a 9.6 percent administrative fee from the total billed by Yakima Waste. When garbage pick-up was changed last spring from cans to bins, Yakima Waste also changed its bill to the city, reducing the total amount billed by the 9.6 percent fee. However, the city continued to take the 9.6 percent fee from Yakima Waste's total bill as it had prior to the change.

"As we go forward, particularly as we go with the BIAS software, we think we can clear up all of the problems that we've had in the past over accounting of Yakima Solid Waste," said Interim City Manager John Darrington. He said the new city accounting software will give accurate accounting and prevent future problems.

"The city was not under-billing the customers," said Interim Finance Director David Layden as he explained how the change in billing from Yakima Waste combined with no change in Sunnyside's accounting meant the city's 9.6 percent fee was effectively taken out twice. He also said he didn't know what caused the error in the first place.

"Something got lost in communication," said Councilman Jason Raines, as he summed up the issue. "Personally I like the fact that when I put a garbage can out it gets picked up. And I would like that to continue. So, I'm glad that we're able to work out a settlement."

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