There’s a cost to throwing away garbage, and it’s about to increase.
The Horry County Solid Waste Authority is weighing how to meet a projected shortfall of nearly $35 million by fiscal year 2024 — whether by a single rate increase in tipping fees or a gradual increase over several years.
The cost to families is expected to be $30 a year, said Jeremy Cook, senior economist with HDR, the company that conducted a rate increase study.
The authority’s board of directors planned to vote Thursday on one of three rate options to increase fees, but after discussions with officials from county and local municipalities before the afternoon meeting, the decision was postponed until the new year.
Board member Sanford Graves said the community needs to be more involved before the final choice is made.
“Perhaps some additional time to consider these things and get ahead of it publicly would be appropriate,” Graves said.
Chairwoman Pam Creech agreed, and the board voted unanimously to take up the rate increase at the Jan. 24 meeting.
“I think all of them, as well as city and county council, need to truly understand and comprehend everything we are doing,” Creech said.
“I think our figures are good, and I think they have told us they don’t have any problem with that, but they would like to discuss it with their city council and their constituents and staff and look at this,” Creech said.
The study showed that Horry County has some of the lowest tipping fees in the area, including $29 for solid waste. That fee has not been raised since 1999.
The average fee for surrounding areas is $43 per ton of solid waste, Cook said.
The board is considering three different rate formulas, including a flat increase to $43 next year.
The second option is to gradually raise rates, but that would cost the waste authority more money for delayed capital improvement projects and result in higher end fees of $46 to $49 a ton.
The third option is also a gradual increase, but raises fees faster with a final rate of $44.
Whatever option is chosen, board member Lance Thompson said he wanted to remind staff to keep tightening their fiscal belts and for administrators to remain operational within a balanced budget.
“I’d like to encourage staff to make sure that we are running as lean and efficiently as possible,” Thompson said.
Proposed rate fee schedules/solid waste
Solid waste tipping fee rate increase
Current Rate (S/Ton)
Option 2 (a)
Option 2 (b)