EMAC approves rate increase recommendation

County increase in tipping fees passed on to residents

April 20, 2019 — The Environmental Management Advisory Committee (EMAC) met on Tuesday evening with an agenda that included a discussion of waste management rates for commercial haulers and committee assignments for members. Including ex-officio members, there are 14 members of EMAC, three of whom are recent additions to the committee: Katie Prosser, Sherry Harvey and
Elizabeth Hatcher.

The meeting was opened by Chairperson Maureen Miltenberger. The first subject she asked EMAC to consider was whether to recommend approval of a rate increase for waste haulers to the Florence City Council.

The meeting was attended by City of Florence Planning Director Wendy FarleyCampbell, who focused on recapping the process for determining the rates local waste haulers are allowed to charge for their services.

The haulers and the city have a contract that stipulates the allowable percentage of profit the companies can make from the work they do for Florence residents. Lane County is instituting an increase of 2.5 percent to what is known as it’s “tipping fee,” i.e., the amount the county charges waste haulers to dump trash into the county landfill.

Since this fee is not being instituted by the haulers, but by Lane County, there is a policy in city code that allows for increased fees related to waste removal to be directly passed to consumers, according to FarleyCampbell.

“The code is one that says increases in the tipping fees can be passed through. … To avoid having to revisit this, we said we will pass those on whenever this comes up — so we don’t have to do a complete rate review every time they increase the tipping fee,” she said.

EMAC held an executive session following the open discussion, which allowed committee members to see the confidential financial information submitted by the haulers, which supported their belief that the new county fees were of the type that allowed for them to be passed on to the public.

There was then a lengthy discussion after the meeting returned to open session, when Dave Twombly, ex-officio member of EMAC and owner of Central Coast Disposal, delved into the percentages of profit that were being made by haulers.

This discussion briefly revisited the rate increase approved at the end of last year for Twombley and his competitors at County Transfer and Recycling.

Twombly reiterated his displeasure with the final rate of increase allowed, which was less than the amount recommended by EMAC.

“Last year, the city paid to have personnel make a recommendation on the increase we should receive, and without any explanation or anything else you took that recommendation and gave us 1 percent less than the recommendation made by staff,” Twombly said.

These observations were not disputed by city staff and the discussion returned to the present recommendation to approve the fee increase, which was then passed unanimously.

The committee also approved the wording used in the 2019 City Work Plan related to EMAC with virtually no changes.

Committee assignments were the next item discussed, with members deciding which of the various aspects of the EMAC portfolio to participate in directly. Brief reports regarding upcoming Earth Day and Arbor Day were the final items discussed, and the meeting was adjourned.

The next EMAC meeting, which is open to the public, will be held Tuesday, May 21, at 6 p.m.


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