Pinellas County Solid Waste plans to increase the disposal rate for municipal solid waste, commercial and yard waste by an average of 6%, beginning on Oct. 1. The increase is the second of a three-year rate increase plan approved by the County commissioners at its March 12, 2019 meeting.

The approved disposal rate for municipal, commercial and yard waste will increase from $39.75 to $42.15 per ton.

“This rate increase for customers reflects the lowest disposal fee in the region,” said Solid Waste Director Paul Sacco. “The average family generating one ton of trash per year will see approximately a $2.40 increase per year.”

Revenue from the rate increase will fund operations and maintenance expenses previously offset by payments from a 30-year contract with, now, Duke Energy for the construction and operation of the Waste-to-Energy power plant. The payments are set to expire in 2024, at the end of the contract.

In addition to the approved disposal rate increase, other fees are proposed for increase. The proposed increases will be considered by the County Commission during the second public hearing for the fiscal year 2021 budget on Tuesday, Sept. 22, beginning at 6 p.m.

The proposed rate/fee increases are:

• Tires, from $75 to $110 per ton, with no flat rate

• Car flat-rate, from $3 to $4 per load

• Pickup trucks and van flat rate, from $10 to $11 per load

• Out-of-county municipal solid waste, commercial waste and yard waste surcharge of $42.15 per ton in addition to the per ton fee of $42.15 per ton

The Special Handling Services Fee, Contractor Surcharge and the special rate for Christmas trees remain unchanged.

Solid Waste anticipates requesting one more increase of 6% beginning Oct. 1, 2021, to continue offsetting the loss of revenue from the Duke Energy contract and to avoid the possibility of dramatically higher percentage increases in the future.

The rate increases were reviewed and approved by the Technical Management Committee, a group made up of solid waste professionals from the County and its 24 municipalities.

Beginning operations in 1983, the Waste-to-Energy facility can process up to 3,150 tons of solid waste per day while generating 75 megawatt hours of renewable electrical energy. In 2019, the facility reduced 1.9 billion pounds of waste by 90 percent of its volume, recovered 512,325 megawatt hours of electricity and recovered 66 million pounds of metal from the incineration process.

For more information about Pinellas County Solid Waste and the Waste-to-Energy facility, visit www.pinellascounty.org/solidwaste.