Bear-Proof Trash Bins

This March 29, 2016 photo shows a trash bin that has been decorated by high school students and modified to be more bear-resistant in Kodiak, Alaska. The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports that the project is a joint effort by the Kodiak Brown Bear Trust, Alaska Waste and Kodiak High School. (Julie Herrmann/Kodiak Daily Mirror via AP)

A private trash hauling company wants to cut its rates by about $20 a month in the Fairbanks North Star Borough with hopes to attract more business.

Ratepayers in Southcentral Alaska would pay about 11 cents more per month to offset the Fairbanks area rate cut.

Alaska Waste has filed with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska to change its rates, and the commission is taking public comments through Jan. 16.

“We want to provide service that people can afford, so that those who need it can access weekly trash service,” wrote Laurel Andrews, community outreach specialist for Alaska Waste in an email. “With the reduced monthly cost, we hope to lower the barrier of entry for Fairbanks residents who are unable to self-haul.

“As more customers sign up and our routes have more density, our costs go down,” she wrote. “As our costs go down, we are able to reduce costs to our customers. Our hope is that eventually the subsidy will no longer be necessary.”

Alaska Waste hauls trash for about 300 residential customers on the outskirts of the borough. Most other residents, if they lack municipal trash hauling service, haul their own trash to taxpayer-funded trash dumping sites.

The weekly hauling service currently costs $54.48 a month for a 96-gallon trash can. If the regulatory commission approves the company’s request, the rate will be reduced to $35.83 a month, according to agency filings.

About 65,000 customers in Southcentral Alaska would absorb the cost, according to Andrews.

The company conducted a rate design study in 2018. Alaska Waste learned that the cost of providing residential trash service in Fairbanks for a 96-gallon cart should be $78.51 per month, Andrews wrote in an email.

That price is a “high barrier of entry for Fairbanks residents,” she said.

The $54.48 monthly rate has been in place since 2016. Prior to that, the rate for a 96-gallon cart in Fairbanks was $32.

Customers in Anchorage currently pay $17.19 or $21.96 per month for a 96-gallon cart, and customers in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough currently pay $30.88 per month for weekly trash hauling from a 96-gallon cart, according to RCA filings.

Rate changes, if approved, are likely to be implemented in 2021, according to Andrews.

Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7545. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.