Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Committee finalizes subsidized solid waste disposal plan; assembly to review

 

October 5, 2017



The Haines Borough Solid Waste Working Group finalized its plan for improving solid waste disposal in Haines, which proposes a sales tax funded, borough-managed solid waste and recycling program.

The plan addresses expensive disposal costs, illegal dumping, environmental and sustainability issues at Community Waste Solutions, and the lack of public refuse and recycling containers.

Community Waste Solutions currently charges 25 cents a pound for self-hauled garbage and waste buried at its landfill.

The draft plan included a charge of 2 cents per pound of solid waste, known as a “tipping fee,” along with revenues from a dedicated 1 percent sales tax to pay for the estimated $500,000 cost of the program,

“This means that everyone who buys anything in Haines is now participating in solid waste disposal,” the draft plan stated.

Haines Borough Public Facilities Director Brad Ryan said, based on this model, each individual pays for solid waste according to the amount they spend in the borough.

“You go to the Fireweed all the time, you’re generating a lot of trash,” Ryan said. “You could say ‘I don’t produce any trash because I go out to eat every day.’ But you’re paying that sales tax to the Fireweed. And if you’re a commercial person and you’re producing a lot of trash I’m assuming you’re also collecting a lot of money which ends up being taxed…You buy more stuff, you’re producing more trash, but you’re also paying more…”

Working group member Norm Smith said the tipping fee should be doubled so that any potential sales tax could be lowered.

“I just don’t think the public or the assembly, whoever the new assembly members are going to be, are going to swallow a 1 percent sales tax increase for municipal solid waste disposal,” he said.

The 2 cents per pound tipping fee would generate $54,000 annually, Ryan said.

The working group decided not to recommend a 1 percent sales tax, but to include it as an example for the assembly to consider.

The final plan states it will rely on a “nominal” tipping fee to help pay for the program.

The plan, which the borough assembly will review, also includes a request for proposals to create a transfer station where people can deliver solid waste and recyclables.

Under the plan, the borough’s solid waste would be shipped to a landfill or recycling facility outside of Haines and would encourage recycling and overall waste reduction.

The working group was created last year to address solid waste issues. The plan is based largely on Petersburg’s solid waste disposal program.

 
 

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