Unlike residential properties, commercial properties are only assessed for the fixed cost of disposal and pay a tipping fee for the waste delivered to the SWA's facilities to cover the variable costs. This policy was established due to the variances in waste generation between businesses that exist among commercial properties and it is practical to quantify it; businesses contract with waste haulers and pay based upon the number of containers, size of the containers, and frequency of pick up of the containers they need for their operation. The fees paid by the hauler include the tipping fee the hauler will be charged by the SWA, the collection costs, container rental charges, and any special services required.
Commercial properties are assigned to 1 of 4 waste disposal categories: high, medium, low, and non-generator. The Commercial Generation Study (PDF) determines the category that a specific type of business (restaurant, hospital, retail store, etc.) is assigned to. What type of business exists on each commercial parcel is initially determined based upon the Property Appraiser's records and is validated and adjusted, if necessary, by the SWA's field staff.
For each category, the assessment rate per square foot is multiplied by the heated square footage of the building to calculate the assessment. If an individual parcel contains activities that fall within multiple categories, for example a snack bar, which is a high generator, within a department store, which is a medium generator, the square footage is apportioned between the various uses and billed accordingly. A 5th category exists for agricultural property, which is billed at a flat rate per acre.