YOUR GOVERNMENT: Commissioners to hold public hearing on raising garbage rates in unincorporated Marion County

Residents in unincorporated areas of Marion County could pay up to $15 more per year for garbage collection if the Marion County Board of Commissioners approves a proposed fee increase.


Commissioners on Wednesday will hold a public hearing and then vote on increasing garbage rates by 2.8% for residents in the Salem urban growth boundary but outside city limits, and 1.1% for rural residents. 

Under the proposed rates, an urban household with a 20-gallon garbage cart would pay $26.36 per month in Marion County, according to a report to commissioners. A household with a 35-gallon cart would pay $28.95 a month — or $38.50 for those with 60-gallon carts and $45.23 for 90-gallon carts.

Those rates would affect areas of Salem outside city limits, including parts of east Salem and Four Corners. They would take effect in 2023.

Rural households would pay $30.75 a month for a 35-gallon cart, $38.42 for a 60-gallon cart or $46.80 for a 90-gallon cart. 

Marion County reviews its garbage rates each year after eight private collection companies serving the county submit a report detailing their costs and revenues.

The proposed rate increase comes as the companies report increasing driver wages due to high demand for people who can operate a waste collection truck, which requires a commercial driver’s license that is federally regulated. 

They said two factors contributing to the lack of drivers are retirements in the industry and the legalization of marijuana, as any amount detected in regular urine testing will result in a suspension of their commercial driver’s license, according to the report.

The proposed rate increases are also intended to offset rising health insurance premiums – which increased by 7.5% this year and are expected to increase by another 15.3% in 2023 – as well as rising fuel costs, expected to increase by 57.3% next year.

Under the proposed rates, commercial customers in urban areas would pay $20.87 per month for a 35-gallon cart, $33.06 for a 65-gallon cart or $42.22 for a 95-gallon cart.

Rural commercial customers monthly would pay $25.45 for a 35-gallon cart, $38.31 for a 65-gallon cart and $49.37 for a 95-gallon cart.

The Salem City Council in August adopted its own rate increases of 8.48% for city residents living in Marion County and 10.54% in Polk County, where rates are cheaper. That works out to about $33 more per year for Salemites to have their garbage and recycling collected.

Salem’s monthly cost for service in Marion County is higher than the county’s proposed rates for unincorporated areas, while the city has a similar rate in Polk County. 

A Salem household with a 20-gallon garbage cart will pay $30.95 per month in Marion County, or $25.75 per month in Polk County starting in 2023. A household with a 35-gallon cart would pay $34.75 monthly in Marion and $29.05 in Polk.

Commissioners at the meeting Wednesday will also consider adding about $3,400 of federal funding for tuberculosis case management to a public health services contract with the Oregon Health Authority. 

The board will consider spending $5.5 million on yellow and white paint for striping Marion County roads and roads for which other public agencies request striping services from the county. The contract would expire in April 2027.

The will also consider adding about $147,000 in federal funding and $16,843 in matching county funds to a contract with the Oregon Department of Transportation for repairing the Little Pudding River Bridge between Salem and Mt. Angel.

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

JUST THE FACTS, FOR SALEM – We report on your community with care and depth, fairness and accuracy. Get local news that matters to you. Subscribe to Salem Reporter. Click I want to subscribe!

Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.