Idaho County may hike fee for solid waste

·2 min read

Aug. 5—GRANGEVILLE — The Idaho County commissioners have scheduled a public hearing to consider a proposal to raise solid waste fees in the county by 25%.

The hearing will be held Aug. 23 at 10 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room of the Idaho County Courthouse. The last increase of 4.9% was passed in 2019.

According to a news release from the commissioners, the amount of solid waste the county's contractor, Kamiah's Simmons Sanitation, had to haul in the past five years has far exceeded the base amount agreed upon 10 years ago.

"It's a chunk," Commission Chairman Skip Brandt said, describing the fee increase the commissioners are proposing. Brandt said Idaho law requires that any time fees are raised more than 5%, a public hearing is required.

County residents "are not going to be happy. I'm not happy," Brandt said. "We've crunched this inside and out but it's the cost of doing business, the cost of diesel, the cost of employees."

He noted how truck drivers who were earning $30,000 a decade ago are now fetching $80,000 to $100,000 for the same work.

In 2012, Idaho County contracted with Simmons to haul a base rate of 4,630 tons of solid waste a year from the Camas Prairie and Salmon River area.

That contracted amount has been exceeded every year since 2017. In 2020, the total tonnage collected was more than 937.49 tons over the base rate; in 2021, it was 991.88 tons over the base rate.

The added tonnage has led to overflowing, unsightly dumpsters, and many citizens have requested more frequent dumpster pickup on every route. Simmons Sanitation has agreed to these extra trips, the commissioners said.

Brandt said the increase in garbage is partially because more people are moving into Idaho County and because so many items are no longer recyclable or repairable.

"It's just the reality of how much of a disposable society we are," he said. "Even with recycling we are just producing more and more waste.

"It gets back to the labor aspects. To pay somebody to work on something, it's cheaper just to give the person a brand new (item) and say, 'Go for it.' "

Hedberg may be contacted at khedberg@lmtribune.com.