Prineville to consider trash rate increase

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: February 11. 2007 5:00AM PST

Prineville’s only trash collection company is asking the City Council to approve a rate increase this year that would raise garbage prices for most residents by 23 cents a month.

A public hearing for the proposed rate hike will take place Tuesday night during the City Council’s regular meeting.

If the increase is approved, this would be the second year in a row that rates go up in line with yearly cost-of-living figures set by the Consumer Price Index.

In the past, the company would usually wait seven or eight years between rate increases, said Steve Holliday, who owns Prineville Disposal with his wife, Emily. In 2005, the City Council approved a nearly 20 percent increase after rates had been steady since 1996.

This year, the company is asking for a 2.5 percent increase, which means that the average residential customer with one-can weekly pickup would pay $9.54 a month starting May 1. The jump covers rising fuel, equipment and health care costs for the company, Holliday said.

“The town is growing extremely fast and I’ve basically got to be ready for that growth,” he said. “I’ve got to put the capital outlay for all the new equipment and new containers for all the people that are moving to town.”

Because Prineville Disposal has a franchise agreement with the city, the council has to approve all rate increases, City Manager Robb Corbett said.

Holliday said that after the 2005 rate increase the City Council asked the company to implement a system of annual raises for its 2,500 city customers. Prineville Disposal also serves 2,500 Crook County customers and is the only collection service for the county.

Trash pickup rates increased in Crook County in 2005 after Prineville Disposal bought out its only competitor, Crook County Disposal. The company’s franchise with the county also allows for automatic annual increases based on the Consumer Price Index, Crook County Judge Scott Cooper said.

Holliday, who with his wife took over Prineville Disposal from Emily’s parents on Jan. 1, said the new system of yearly increases should be easier for customers.

“The City Council for the most part told us that they would rather have us come in every year for smaller incremental rate increases, rather than wait several years for big increases,” he said. “Because there’s so many people on limited income, when you raise their rates 20 percent or 25 percent or whatever, that’s harder to absorb than a 2.5 percent increase.”

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