Once a year, the city auditor's office turns its microscope on that dearest of Tea Party causes: government efficiency and waste. The annual "report on service efforts and accomplishments" released today basically details where city money is going within bureaus and whether services are getting better or doing worse.

The big news from this year's audit is that Portland's are creating less trash, but the average garbage bill is still going up. Businesses created 21 percent less waste this year than in 2005 (though the economy could definitely play a role in this, since people are doing less business overall) and Portland recycled, reused, or composted 67 percent of its waste, which is much higher than the national average (nerdy charts here). But the cost of collecting garbage has increased 18 percent over five years.

That's the bad news. Even if you're vigorously composting, your garbage bill has still be climbing.

Here's the good stats from the audit: the number of certified green buildings in the city has jumped from 552 in 2005 to 1,595 this year and, according to the audit, the city has saved $4.2 million in energy costs thanks to energy efficiency plans implemented since 1991.