Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Baker Sanitary Service is asking the Baker City Council to approve the company’s first general rate increase for garbage collection in 12 years.

Councilors will discuss the request, but are not slated to make any decisions, during their regular meeting Tuesday at City Hall, 1655 First St.

The evening starts with a work session at 6 p.m., during which councilors will talk about efforts to reduce the fire danger in the city’s watershed. That will be followed by an executive session (closed to the public) at 6:45 p.m., followed by the regular public meeting at 7 p.m.

Baker Sanitary is requesting a residential rate hike from $16 per month to $19 for homes with a single roll cart emptied weekly. That’s an 18.75% increase, and it would be the first such increase since 2007.

The yellow bag option for customers who generate little waste would remain at $7 per month.

Baker Sanitary is also requesting an 18.75% increase for commercial customers with a single rollcart emptied weekly (from $20 to $23.75), the same percentage increase for landfill disposal, as well as increases for various commercial containers ranging from 16.59% to 18.55% depending on the size of the container and how frequently it’s emptied.

Baker Sanitary has a franchise agreement with the city that gives the company the exclusive right to collect garbage within the city.

The agreement gives the City Council the authority to approve or reject rate increases by Baker Sanitary, with one exception — the company can boost rates by up to 5% each year without Council approval.

Councilors are slated to discuss the company’s request Tuesday, then consider an ordinance, with some level of rate increases, on May 14.

In a letter to the City Council, David Henry, Baker Sanitary’s president, wrote that the company has been able to avoid raising rates since 2007 in part because of the additional money it received since 2006 when it started taking trash from Union County at Baker Sanitary’s landfill near Sutton Creek a few miles southeast of Baker City.

That money helped Baker Sanitary “finance the necessary landfill liner, leachate pond and infrastructure that totaled over $1.7 million in cost to keep our landfill open and continue to keep our local rates affordable,” Henry wrote.

But he noted that three factors have prompted the company to request the City Council approve higher rates:

• “Recycling market deterioration”

• “Mainline equipment replacement costs”

• Landfill expansion needs”

See more in the April 22, 2019, issue of the Baker City Herald.