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The Observer paper 11/21/14

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By Alice Perry Linker

Observer Staff Writer

Dumping garbage is expected to cost Union County residents a few dollars more, if a proposed increase is accepted.

The county's solid waste advisory committee will hear a plan to raise the cost of dumping from about $17 per ton to $22 per ton. Until now, the cost of dumping has been calculated based on volume instead of weight. The committee will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the county's Chaplin Building, 1001 Fourth St.

Ron Larvik, owner of City Garbage Service, said that the cost of weekly service in La Grande may increase by about $1.20 per month under the increased cost of dumping, depending upon the frequency of pickup service, but he said that amount is not final.

The $1.20 increase does not include the cost of curbside recycling in La Grande, he said.

The final decision on a countywide dumping rate will be made by the county commissioners, but Planner Hanley Jenkins said last week that the county is expected to coordinate its higher dumping fees with the city's proposed curbside recycling, so customers will face only one price increase.

The city council has been discussing curbside recycling, but no decision has yet been made, although the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has said that a plan must be developed. The proposed cost of curbside recycling is expected to range from a minimum of $2.07 to $4.39 per month. The cost would be an addition to regular garbage pickup, but customers are expected to be given several options for service.

The cost of garbage pickup in Union has increased by $3 per month.

The county and City Garbage Service, which operates the landfill, have been negotiating on the price of dumping for the past couple of years. Jenkins said that after the rate increase is in place, all garbage will be taken to the Material Recovery Facility on Highway 30 south of La Grande. The Fox Hill Landfill will then be closed to all but professional garbage haulers.

Last year, the county learned that the landfill has a lifetime of approximately another five years before it must be closed to all dumping.

When the Fox Hill Landfill does close permanently, the county's garbage will be hauled to a regional landfill, and prices are expected to rise considerably at that time. The county commissioners have said that they hope to keep the landfill open as long as possible.


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