The Douglas County Solid Waste Advisory Committee voted Wednesday to recommend a minimum fee of $12 to deposit trash at the Douglas County landfill and transfer stations.
The current fee is $73 per ton, $12 per cubic yard and $3 per can. The new fee schedule would increase to $90 per ton, $12 for three or fewer cans and $16 per cubic yard.
The new fees would have to be approved by the Douglas County Board of Commissioners before taking effect.
The fees would cover the increased cost in operations since fees were first put in place in 2015. They would take effect Jan. 1, 2020.
The committee considered, but rejected, the possibility of raising rates high enough to cover capital expenses, including the creation of a pipe to transfer leachate to the Winston-Green Wastewater Treatment Plant. The per ton cost to cover those expenses would be $155.
The committee also voted to recommend the commissioners delegate authority to the county public works director to approve disposal fee waivers for community and nonprofit organization cleanups, as well as for emergencies or cleanups involving health or safety.
It also recommended the Douglas County Industrial Development Board consider grants to cover cleanups from for-profit organizations that would be beneficial to the county’s economy. An example mentioned was the cleanup of the empty Safeway building in downtown Roseburg.
The debate over fee waivers followed the county’s decision last year to allow the Hanna family free disposal of about $50,000 worth of demolition waste from the former Windmill Inn.
Committee members reiterated Wednesday that for-profit company fee waiver requests should be decided at public meetings.
Committee member Phil Bigler said the public review process is important so no one is surprised or upset to find out about a decision a few months after it’s been made.
“No one likes to feel like they don’t know what’s going on. I think this helps us keep whatever happens in the public eye so we can avoid any of that,” Bigler said.
The committee also considered the future of the county’s transfer stations. Some options under consideration include charging higher rates at the rural stations that have higher operational costs, closing some stations or privatizing them.
Committee member Dick Heard suggested transfer stations be turned over to local communities, which could then decide whether to pay to operate them or shut them down.
The committee made no decision on the transfer stations but asked that solid waste officials present them with three or four detailed options to choose from at a subsequent meeting.