GRRWA asking for steep rate hikes starting in July

Most municipal partners at landfill will see rates more than double

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

LEE COUNTY – Many governmental agencies could be looking at steep price increases from Great River Regional Waste Authority.

The City of West Point will be the first to tackle the hikes publicly as the issue is on their agenda for Monday night’s meeting.

According to information in the West Point City Council packet, GRRWA is asking to more than double the rates charged to the city for waste management services.

The city is currently paying GRRWA $432 per month or $5,184 annually for city residents to have access to the company’s waste management.

However GRRWA officials have recalculated rates based on 2020 census data, according to City Administrator Dennis McGregor.

That rate is projected to result in an increase to $992 per month or $11,904 annually, an increase of 230% over current rates.

GRWWA has also informed Lee County that their rates will go up beginning in July.

According to Lee County Budget Director Cindy Renstrom, the county has been notified that its rate will increase from $54,696 annually to $140,184 per year, an increase of 256% over current rates.

In a letter to West Point officials, GRRWA General Manager Austin Banks pointed to growth of communities and thusly, the landfill, as to the reason behind the increases.

“As our communities continue to grow and generate waste, the GRRWA must also expand and be forward thinking in our planning. Our service to the planning area must meet those needs along with compliance of state and federal regulations through the EPA and DNR,” Banks wrote.

He said the current landfill is utilizing a cell with 4.5 years of airspace, and a new cell will be ready by 2025 to provide an extra five years of airspace. The authority also has plans to build another cell in 2030 to give an extra eight years of airspace, with additional footprints for other new cells.

Banks also indicated that the EPA could very soon require a methane gas collection system due to the amount of waste being stored.

“Accordingly, the GRRWA must reassess the fees charged to members of the planning area,” he wrote.

Currently GRRWA charges $44 per ton of waste at regular rates and $36 per ton for contracted rates, with a household rate of $1. Beginning July 2022, the new regular rate would be $45.50 per ton and the contracted rate would go up 113% to $40.50 per ton. The household rate would increase from $1 to $2.50.

Lee County hasn’t publicly discussed the rate increase, but Fort Madison officials have indicated they will likely see an increase in fees, as well.

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