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City Council Votes to Increase Refuse Rates

In wake of recent sewer fees increase, refuse rates to climb 7%

Published on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 | 4:27 am

Local residents and businesses were hit with another fee increase on Monday when the City Council voted to increase refuse rates.

The vote comes just one week after the City Council increased its sewer fees. Water and power rates could also go up soon.

“No matter what you hear on the news a lot of our residents don’t believe our economy is in a great place,” said Tyron Hampton. “At some point it becomes unaffordable.”

Hampton voted against the staff recommendation, which was amended to include staggered reviews of local fees every five years.

The new refuse rates would increase by 7% each fiscal year from 2026 to 2029 to adjust for inflation.

City staff said the increase is needed as current rates are not generating enough revenue to keep up with operational cost increases and capital expenses.

“It’s odd that we are raising all of our rates at once,” said Councilmember Felicia Williams. “I think it’s very unsettling for the residents. I think it’s difficult because we have not raised rates for so long.”

Williams called for the City to model out and have regular rate increases come back before the City Council.

Mayor Victor Gordo pointed out that the City has not raised rates due to other issues that were impacting local residents, including the pandemic and the housing crisis.

“We’re seeing that those decisions that were rational came with a cost and now when it is time to act it’s a little steeper than it might have been at the time,” said Mayor Victor Gordo. “You have to look at what was transpiring over the past 15 years.”

Currently, residential customers that have a 32-gallon residential refuse cart are paying $16.29 monthly for waste disposal that is picked up once per week. The proposal increases the rate to $24.76 for the first year of the implementation of the rate increase. By 2029, customers will have to pay $32.46 per month for this service.

Residents who have a 60-gallon residential refuse cart who are currently paying $26.44 will need to pay $35.19 this year and those who have a 100-gallon refuse cart currently paying $40.99 will have to pay $46.61.

The rates for the residential bin (the large 3.2 cubic foot rolling bin) service were also increased.

Residents who have one of these bins picked up once a week and are currently paying a disposal cost of $124.70 will have to pay $249.92, while those who have their bin picked up twice a week and are paying $202.36 will have to pay $499.84 under the new rates.

“Based on the proposed formula, residents paying for 32-gallon refuse carts now will be paying double that amount in four years, an increase of 100%, whereas 100-gallon refuse cart customers will see an increase of only 50% over the same 4-year period,” said Gail Brown in correspondence to the City Council. “Residential customers who create the least amount of garbage should be encouraged and rewarded for their conservation efforts, and not punished with a greater percentage of the cost burden! Customers who create the most garbage should be incentivized to create less waste, not given a price break at the expense of others.”

David Davis, from solid waste consulting firm MSW Consultants, said factors causing upward pressure on rates include the SB 1383 State organics recycling regulations, the closure of Scholl Canyon Landfill and the capital expenditures on replacement trucks and containers.

The City has two types of customers: residential and commercial, and it provides two types of services: the cart service (which most residents use at home) and the bin service.

According to Davis, commercial rates are adjusted yearly by the Consumer Price Index, but residential rates have not been adjusted since 2012, and they need to be increased in order for the City to generate the revenue it needs.

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