- In a decision on Monday, the Seattle City Council voted to raise the city's solid waste service rates by 4.4% over the next three years, according to The Seattle Times.
- These rates were originally forecast in Seattle Public Utilities' (SPU) 2014 business plan, which was approved by the council. Rates will increase 7.2% in April 2017, 1.9% in 2018, and 4% in 2019.
- A monthly bill for typical households will go from $44.85 to $50.95 by 2019. Due to the scale of their collections, commercial customers and multi-unit buildings will see varying increases.
This rate hike is meant to help Seattle cover the costs of existing programs and new facilities. As the city's Utility Discount Program expands, more money will be needed to provide solid waste credits for low-income residents. Clean City, a group of SPU programs aimed at littering, graffiti, and illegal dumping, is set to expand as well. The city is also building a new transfer station and a separate recycling and reuse center.
Seattle's waste system is often held up as a model for other cities to follow and has mostly encountered success lately. While a judge ruled that the city's practice of inspecting garbage bins for organic waste was unconstitutional, the ban on tossing compostable material is still valid. SPU also announced that plastic bag usage is down 50% since 2012 and has been working to close the gap in recycling access in a few remaining multi-unit buildings.
Rate increases are relatively common as programs expand over time and it's clear that many Seattle residents appreciate their city's waste efforts.