With long lines and limited hours at the Jefferson County Solid Waste facility off South Jacob Miller Road, the city of Port Townsend is considering easing that burden by increasing the minimum …
With long lines and limited hours at the Jefferson County Solid Waste facility off South Jacob Miller Road, the city of Port Townsend is considering easing that burden by increasing the minimum tipping fee for yard waste.
The minimum yard waste tipping fee at the county-owned facility could increase from the $5 minimum for
200 pounds to $20 for 800 pounds.
City councilmembers considered the potential increase in their discussion-only presentation delivered in last week’s business meeting, with officials discussing and weighing possible negative impacts by increasing the fee.
The intent of the potential move is to reduce the number of trips taken by people to drop off yard waste at the facility, with county solid waste staff saying the site isn’t set up to handle the number of visitors it currently gets.
“Part of the problem is that we don’t have an adequate queuing line both inbound, and more problematically, outbound,” Al Cairns, solid waste manager for Jefferson County Public Works, said during the council’s first meeting in May. “So we get a bottleneck where we have to ration how many people are coming in.”
While the transfer station is mostly operated by the county, the city does manage a compost facility at the location.
Councilmember Ben Thomas raised concerns about the tipping fee increase, including potential health hazards from less frequent trash drop-offs as well as increased illegal dumping in the county.
“Do we worry about it provoking more illegal dumping?” Thomas asked.
“Right now, we are kind of at the tipping point again of having too much yard waste,” Cairns said.
The county and city intend to invest in a new solid waste facility in the next five to 10 years, but the short-term objective is getting people to drop off their waste at higher quantities and less frequently.
“It’s not that this is quadrupling, it’s that we’re trying to reduce the number of trips so that everybody has a better experience going to the facility, because nobody wants to wait in that line for an hour,” said Councilmember Libby Urner Wennstrom.
The city is set to return to the potential tipping fee increase again in the near future.