Second public hearing to be announced on proposed landfill fee increases

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | October 6, 2020 1:00 AM

EPHRATA — Grant County commissioners will schedule a second public hearing on a proposal to raise the fees charged to dump garbage at the Grant County landfill. The proposal was the subject of an initial public hearing Tuesday.

The proposed schedule includes fees both for the landfill near Ephrata and for disposal sites around the county, known as drop boxes.

If the proposal is approved, the new fees would go into effect March 1, 2021.

Grant County Public Works director Sam Castro said the current fees generate enough money to pay expenses, but there are projects coming up that will require capital investments. Currently the Solid Waste Department doesn’t have the money, he said.

Upcoming projects include the fourth phase of construction at the current landfill, and purchasing property for a new landfill when the current one is full. He estimated that a new landfill could be needed by 2027 and construction would take a few years. As a result, the county needs to start putting aside money now, Castro said.

The basic garbage fee, called a tipping fee, would be increased to $49.33 per ton. The current tipping fee is $28.80 per ton, and Castro said that’s the lowest in the state.

The minimum fee would be raised to $4.93. Currently it’s $3.

The minimum fee for “unsecured loads,” such as garbage hauled in a car or truck, would remain unchanged. The fee is $5 for a passenger vehicle. For a pickup it’s $15 for more than three cubic yards.

The fee to get rid of appliances is the same as the basic fee and would increase to $49.33 per ton from $28.80 per ton. The fee to dispose of individual refrigerators or refrigeration units would be the same, $7.25 per refrigerator.

The fees to dump tires would increase to $49.33 from $28.80. That fee applies to loads of 20 tires or less. The disposal fee for individual tires would remain the same, $3 per tire.

Most drop box fees will remain the same. The tipping fee for loose garbage will stay at $26 per yard, and so will the fee for compacted garbage, which is $34 per yard. People disposing of less than one-half a cubic yard will pay a $10 flat fee per load.

The drop box fee for tires is higher than the landfill fee. It’s $4.50 per tire for tires less than 35 inches in diameter, and $8 per tire for truck tires.