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WLSSD raises its tax for Duluth-area homeowners

Residents within the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District will pay an extra $7 per year on their property tax bill in 2015 to help pay for the WLSSD's solid waste recovery and recycling programs.

Residents within the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District will pay an extra $7 per year on their property tax bill in 2015 to help pay for the WLSSD’s solid waste recovery and recycling programs.

The WLSSD board on Monday night approved its annual budget that includes raising the district’s residential property tax from $18 to $25 per year. Seasonal property owners will pay $12.50 on their tax bill next year.
The WLSSD solid waste fee that’s collected on residential garbage bills will not increase in 2015.
Businesses will see an increase in the WLSSD fee charged on their garbage bill. That fee will increase from the current $1.96 per cubic yard of non-compacted garbage to $2.35 per cubic yard. Compacted garbage fees will increase from $3.92 per cubic yard to $4.70 per cubic yard.
WLSSD officials say it’s costing more to keep popular recycling, composting, re-use and hazardous waste disposal facilities running. The solid waste fees and taxes cover 70 percent of the cost of those programs and hadn’t been increased for the past nine years, said Marianne Bohren, WLSSD executive director.
Because the programs have been successful - diverting waste that would have been landfilled as garbage, and instead recycling or re-using those materials - the district has collected less money from the waste fees on garbage bills and now needs to increase taxes to cover its costs.
Meanwhile, the WLSSD also approved a less-than-1 percent increase in the fees it charges cities for wastewater treatment.
“We’ve contained costs for our wastewater services and been able to keep rates relatively flat over the past five years,” Bohren said in a statement Tuesday.
The board also approved its long-range capital spending plan that will see the WLSSD move toward energy self-sufficiency by converting waste methane gas into electricity, heat and potentially fuel. Electricity makes up about 20 percent of the agency’s wastewater treatment cost.
The WLSSD oversees both sewage treatment and solid waste. Its coverage area includes the cities of Duluth, Cloquet, Carlton, Scanlon, Wrenshall, Hermantown, Proctor and Thomson and the townships of Silver Brook, Thomson, Twin Lakes, Canosia, Duluth, Grand Lake, Lakewood, Midway, Rice Lake and Solway.

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