TWIN FALLS — Recycling costs are up to $164 per ton to take materials out of Twin Falls. On Monday, the City Council approved a rate increase to continue recycling in Twin Falls, but only when prices drop below $100 per ton.
Following a new cost-sharing agreement with PSI Environmental Systems, full-service customers will pay 53 cents more per month to continue the recycling program. But when the cost exceeds $100 per ton, that rate increase will instead go toward fees to dump those materials in the landfill.
The City Council voted 7-0 to pass the new sanitation rate resolution, hoping it will buy the city some time and help it react more quickly to a market that’s currently unpredictable.
“Last week the citizens spoke loud and clear, in my mind,” Councilwoman Ruth Pierce said. “They want recycling, and they’re willing to pay for it.”
However, to recycle no matter the cost would have required an even higher rate increase. Utilities Billing Supervisor Bill Baxter had presented the $100-per-ton breaking point as a compromise between eliminating the program altogether and raising rates substantially higher.
Recycling costs have risen over the past year, and especially since China began cutting back its imports due to contamination levels. China is now buying 20 percent of what it used to, PSI Manager Jeff Brewster said.
But analysts believe the price will decrease and normalize over time.
“China’s going to need that product, eventually,” Brewster said.
Under the new rate increase, beginning April 1 residents who have full-service garbage and recycling will see their sanitation rates increase 53 cents per month. Those with 65-gallon carts will see rates increase 37 cents. Customers with 35-gallon carts will see an increase of about 20 cents per month.
Also at the meeting, the City Council adopted an update to its 2030 strategic plan. Major changes to the document included planning for how to make the library an educational center, as well as the city becoming involved in workforce attraction and housing needs.
About 250 residents were involved in the update process, said Phil Kushlan with Kushlan Associates.
The 37-page document helps to guide the city’s financial and policy-making decisions through the year 2030 with a set of goals and objectives.
“We just keep building on a very strong foundation,” Vice Mayor Nikki Boyd said. “I feel like we continue to create a culture that provides an environment where people really want to live and work and raise families and retire.”
Also at the meeting, the Council approved a zoning agreement with a development on the northeast corner of Addison Avenue East and Carriage Lane North; and voted to spend $125 to participate in Arts & Soul of the Magic Valley.