Tradeoff between SP, trash hauler delays rate increase, extends contract

November 08, 2013
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times 

A tradeoff brokered by the city and its trash hauler will delay price increases for customers by two years and extend the length of the contract with Crown Disposal Co. by the same amount.

The City Council unanimously approved the deal at the Monday night meeting to extend the franchise agreement with Crown through May 2018 and delay any increase in solid waste disposal fees until July 1, 2015. 

“Crown has really stepped up to the plate, this is something almost unheard of,” said Fontes regarding the agreement.

With citizens having the sewer surcharge fee increasing from 58 cents per 100 cubic feet to $1.12 per 100 cubic feet effective November 1, Fontes said that freeze on solid waste disposal rates will come as good news to customers who otherwise would have seen the increase July 2013.

Said Fontes, “This item brings good news to the community,” that will not have a Crown rate increase until July 2015.

Interim Public Works Director Brian Yanez agreed and noted the agreement had stemmed from discussions with Fontes of the increased sewer surcharge fee as well as the “council’s thoughts on increases.... we sat down with Crown and came up with some solutions,” to extend the franchise agreement due to expire to 2018 and delay customer increases to 2015.

The talks he added went well: “We had a good negotiation in regards to this increase,” with all agreeing “it was not a good time to put more on the public’s plate.”

Vice Mayor Rick Cook noted the city has already had a 341percent increase since 2007 in pumping fees charged by United Water Conservation District and he asked how solid waste customers saved by the Crown increase being delayed two years.

Based on the Consumer Price Index Fontes said Crown would have been entitled to a 4.15 percent increase.

Residents now pay basic rates of $21.47 a month for a 95-gallon container of waste, $17.47 a month for a 65-gallon container or $13.47 for a 35-gallon container. The rates also include separate 95-gallon recycling cans for green waste and recyclables such as plastic, aluminum and paper, although customers can opt to have smaller bins. Monthly added costs and charges that would not be impacted by a rate increase are $1 per customer for the Household Hazardous Waste program and $5.20 for the city’s franchise fee and AB 939. 

The latter is state mandated authorization of local jurisdictions to impose fees based on the types or amounts of solid waste generated to be used to pay actual costs incurred in preparing, adopting and implementing integrated waste management plans, as well as in setting and collecting the local fees. 

Following the meeting Yanez said not implementing the rate increase “Saved $118,000 to residential and commercial accounts.”

Crown has been the city’s solid waste hauler since the city eliminated its solid-waste department in 2011, a controversial move that city officials said was necessary to help offset a projected $1.8 million deficit. 

Santa Paula collects approximately $300,000 in annual franchise fees from Crown.  

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