Port Angeles sets commerical waste rates

Glass recycling options to be brought to council in future

PORT ANGELES — The City of Port Angeles has set new rates for waste collection for commercial customers and has announced it expects to bring back options for glass recycling in the next few months.

“I think it’s important to note that the addition of these rates does not change any of the other rates or services provided by the solid waste utility,” Financial Director Sarina Carrizosa said on March 15.

The City of Port Angeles recently took on all of the waste collection services, ending a 15-year relationship with Texas-based Waste Connections. Commercial collections services include commercial co-mingled recycling and yard waste. Co-mingled recycling is the collection of cardboard with traditional recycling.

“Specifically these are two rate classifications that will need to be added to the city code in order to provide and bill for these services,” Carrizosa said.

“It was staff’s intention to make this transition as seamless as possible by adopting the same rate as Waste Connections to ensure that our customers didn’t see any changes to their bill,” she said.

“Unfortunately, Waste Connections has not provided this information to the City.”

Matt O’Connell, Rainier Division vice president for Waste Connections, said these rates were not part of the former contract the city had with Waste Connections.

“This is about the city not understanding or knowing, what is now the former contract,” O’Connell said.

“This happened multiple times as we were negotiating the termination agreement. All that we service in accordance with the contract was curbside collection or recycled materials and yard waste. All the service that we provided under contract had to do with curbside collection meaning the residential collection.”

Waste Connections provided service to commercial customers and continues to do so, but those were not under the contract with the city. However, the city has reported that it has had several requests from commercial customers for these services from the city.

“We were honestly never asked about the rates for those customers and they’re outside the contract,” O’Connell said.

“We aren’t obligated because they were never part of the agreement that was being terminated.”

The city had some areas that had bins specified for the recycling of cardboard only. Waste Connections billed the city for those bins on a monthly basis.

According to O’Connell, the city should have the rates for this particular service because it was itemized.

This is not the first time the City has run into contractual issues with its separation from Waste Connections.

Glass recycling

When the City took over solid waste disposal at the beginning of the month, it announced it would be halting the recycling of glass indefinitely.

“Now I can tell you that we plan to bring back some options relative to the glass recycling stream to council in the next couple of months, and I think there’s going to be some exciting opportunities there, but it does beg a question of what was happening to the glass for the last couple of years,” Public Works Director Thomas Hunter said.

In a press release put out by Waste Connections on Monday, the company said it is continuing to accept glass recycling at its bin locations in Sequim along with Hemlock and Second Avenue and Evergreen Collision, and East Washington Street.

“We can’t speak to what is happening in Port Angeles regarding the absence of glass recycling,” O’Connell said. ”The City notified us in March 2021 that it was going to terminate our contract and take over operations. We don’t understand why the City is not providing glass recycling services to its residents after having nearly a year to prepare.

“Because there has been recent confusion about glass recycling in Clallam County and specifically the City of Sequim, we want to let all of our customers know that we will continue to pick up glass at those two community container locations. So, we are encouraging residents and businesses to deposit their glass there. We’ll pick it up,” O’Connell, said.

City staff recommended to the council that it adopt current rates for traditional commercial recycling and residential yard waste.

The rate for commercial recycling including co-mingled recycling will be $15.70 per month and the rate for commercial yard waste will be $8.87 per month.

“This is recommended until staff has more data to include in a cost of service analysis that will occur in 2023, which essentially means these rates will expire Dec. 31, 2023, according to the same cycle as the rest of the rates in the solid waste utility,” Carrizosa said.

The city is presuming that these rates are less than what Waste Connections was charging customers previously, based on available data from the company.

City Council voted unanimously to adopt this ordinance, with a critical comment from Council member Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin.

” Just want to note that when you work with a contractor for what 15 years or so, and then they won’t even tell us how much they were billing people for services, just says a lot,” Schromen-Wawrin said.

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