The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Dena Martin
The Times 

Waitsburg will contract solid waste billing

 

February 7, 2019



WAITSBURG – City Hall staff will have one less duty on their plates when Basin Disposal Inc. (BDI) takes over billing soon. Council members voted 3-2 to outsource billing to BDI at their Jan. 16 council meeting. The change in billing is expected to result in a three-cent overall increase to customers.

City Manager Randy Hinchliffe originally proposed eliminating the City as the middleman and outsourcing billing to BDI at the December council meeting. He was requested to determine the financial impact outsourcing would have on the City and report back in January.

Hinchliffe said that the BDI has calculated that they can provide billing for three-cents more per customer than the City can. The City currently imposes a 12% administrative fee over the cost of garbage to cover costs such as excise tax, labor, postage, billing, etc.

Hinchliffe said the City generally loses money on garbage. Recent calculations show a loss of $863 in 2016, a profit of $255 in 2017 and a loss of $692 in 2018. Hinchliffe said that the state auditor is also requiring a different accounting method that will require more labor time.

Hinchliffe said BDI currently handles billing for about half of its customers and that more cities are headed that direction. He also said that going through BDI would simplify things for customers who are often confused about whether to call BDI or the City regarding new cans, dumpsters, etc. Now customers can deal directly with BDI.

Hockersmith was worried about residents dropping services to save money.

“How many people in this town are going to let their garbage service lapse and how many people are going to have trash everywhere?” she asked.

Hinchliffe said residents are still subject to City requirements to have garbage service. “The only thing that will change is the billing,” he said.

Jacoy questioned whether outsourcing billing would allow BDI to increase rates. Hinchliffe responded that the city is already in a contract with BDI and rates can’t be increased beyond the agreed rates.

Romine asked if the City could cancel the outsourcing agreement in the event that BDI did increase the administrative portion of the bill.

Jacoy motioned that the City continue to handle billing and Hockersmith seconded. Jacoy and Hockersmith voted in favor with Romine, Kuykendall and House voted nay.

After further discussion, Kuykendall motioned to outsource billing to BDI at an increase of three cents per customer, with the option of canceling if it didn’t work out. Romine, Kuykendall and House voted in favor of outsourcing with Hockersmith and Jacoy voting opposed.

Once the billing agreement is finalized between the City and BDI, residents will receive separate water and sewer bills and should contact BDI directly with any solid waste concerns or needs.

 

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