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December 18, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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December 18, 2014

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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 - Mason County Journal - Page A-3 Three 7.2 percent bumps get initial OK By GORDON WEEKS gordon@masoncoun com Garbage and recycling cus- tomers in Shelton might be facing 7.2 percent solid waste rate-increases -- for a total of 21.6 percent -- in March 2015, July 2015, and January 2016. The Shelton City Commis- sion on Monday voted 2-1 to preliminarily pass the three increases, which would in- clude recycling and the com- mon 35-gallon containers. The rate increases would receive final approval at the commission's study session at 2 p.m. Monday at the Shelton Civic Center. The city hasn't raised the solid-wastecollection rates since 2011. Greg Clark, the city of Shelton's public works direc- tor, told the commission that the solid-waste utility depart- ment needs to raise rates to keep a minimum working bal- ance of $100,000 and pay for other expenses, such as aging vehicles. "The operational costs are driving the rate increases," Clark said. The average lifespan of a garbage truck is seven to 10 years, Clark said. The city's vehicles "include a roll-off dumpster-carrying vehicle Journal photo by Gordon Weeks Shelton's oldest garbage truck is 14 years old, and the average lifespan of such vehicles is seven to 10 years, says Greg Clark, the city of Shelton,s public works director. The cost to repair the aging vehicles is among the reasons the city of Shelton is proposing 7.2 per- cent solid-waste rate increases -- for a total of 21.6 percent -- in March 2015, July 2015, in January 2016. built in 2000 and Peterbuilt side-loader trucks built in 2004, 2006 and 2007. The older trucks "are spend- ing a lot of time in our repair shop," Clark said. The commission last week considered 5 percent increas- es, in March 2015, July 2015, and January 2016. But at Monday's meeting, Commissioner Tracy Moore proposed that the city raise the rate "above the baseline" so it can adequately fund the utility department's present and future needs. Those needs include an es- timated $25,000 to $40,000 for the first phase of rate analysis u ]lity pa ment also : needs: estin d $100,000 as match money for a $300,000 grant to study the city's former C Street lan t6: pare to h passage of the three 7.2 percent i~reaseSlZ~e util- ity dep ment could maintain the$100,000 balance, get one payment on a new truck, have additional work done on the comprehensive plan, and pro- vide $.100 00 for the study on the cleandp of the old C Street dump "We really need to be pro- active, and I'm sorry that means a rate: increase," Moore said. Com ioner Mike Olsen said with Moore on the 7' ?/per nt increases. The city has a history of be- ing forced to react in emer- gency financial situations, he said. "We wait, :wait, wait and then it bites: . he butt," Olsen said. l' es rate increases, but t ' ma es sense to bite the bullet," he said. Mayor Gary Cronce cast the dissenting vote. He said he continues to supports the three 5 percent increases for the department's compre-and doesn't want t~esi- hensive plan in 2016; an esti- dents for more th city mated $120,000 to $160,000 ne~ds, i~ ~ for the additional work for =We're in a hold ttern full comprehensive plan in 2017; $350,000 per truck to begin to replace the aging fleet; and about $150,000 for a transfer station for the recy- cling vehicles. ? until we see some money com- ing into town," Cronce said. But the city remains com- mitted to cleaning up the C Street dump, "an obligation," he said.