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Garbage rates may increase for south county

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By Noah Haglund
Herald Writer
@NWHaglund
Published:
LYNNWOOD -- Some garbage customers in southwest and eastern Snohomish County could see their rates go up starting July 1.
A state commission will decide whether to allow Allied Waste Services' proposed increase of about 4 percent for most customers and 9 percent or higher for some others.
The changes would affect 16,700 residential customers in Lynnwood, Edmonds, Woodway and surrounding unincorporated areas, plus others near the cities of Monroe, Sultan and Gold Bar. All should have received notices in the mail.
"Some would experience an increase, some will experience a rate decrease, it just depends on what your combination of service is," said Jeff Borgida, a general manager for the company.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission is scheduled to consider the rate changes at a June 28 meeting. The three-member commission, however, is likely to postpone a decision until July to give staff more time for research.
"The staff will not have completed their investigation by the June 28 open meeting," commission spokeswoman Marilyn Meehan said. "So it will be extended and brought back when they are finished with their investigation."
In a letter to customers, Allied states that it "has experienced increases in all of the costs key to delivering our services." That includes labor, trucks and fuel, trash containers and more, Allied spokeswoman Anne Laughlin said.
Allied must prove its need for the increase to the commission, which can accept the changes, modify them or reject them completely.
The commission may allow the rate changes to take effect before reaching a decision. Should that happen, customers would get a refund if the commission later decides to lower rates.
The proposal would give Allied Waste of Lynnwood an extra $482,000 in yearly operating revenue, Meehan said. Allied's last increase for the Lynnwood service area was in 2010.
Of the affected Snohomish County customers, 12,000 receive pickup for garbage, yard waste and recycling. Their rates would rise by about 4 percent on average.
Many of the remaining residential customers receive only garbage and recycling pickup. They would see an average increase of 8 percent to 9 percent. Changes to other services vary.
About 1,000 Snohomish County commercial customers would be affected as well.
The commission is accepting mailed, emailed or phoned-in comments about the proposed changes until June 25. People also have the opportunity to speak at the commission's meeting later this month in Olympia.
Meehan said that of the 15 requests the commission had received as of early last week, 13 were against the rate hike and two undecided.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.
How to comment
The UTC is accepting comments by phone, email or letter until Monday about Allied Waste of Lynnwood's proposed garbage-rate changes.
Mail to: Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission; PO Box 47250; Olympia, WA 98504.
Email: comments@utc.wa.gov.
Phone: 888-333-9882.
In person: People also have the chance to comment at the open meeting scheduled for 9:30 a.m. June 28 at UTC headquarters, 1300 S. Evergreen Park Drive SW, room 206, Olympia, WA 98504.
Story tags » EdmondsLynnwoodWoodwayRecyclingWaste

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