Another city hit by garbage rate hike
San Carlos residents have until April to stave off a 13.2 percent garbage rate hike, adding the city to a growing roster of Peninsula cities and districts adjusting for the new service provider and paying off lingering debts to the previous one.
The San Carlos City Council tonight will schedule a hearing April 11, 45 days after the legally required notice of the proposal, at which it could increase rates either 13.2 percent or 11 percent for both residential and commercial customers.
The difference is 2.2 percent attributed to an accounting balance owed former service provider Allied Waste, whose contract ended last year.
A portion of that can be deferred until after this rate year. That means the increase would be 11 percent now but an extra 2.2 percent in the 2012 adjustment, said Assistant City Manager Brian Moura, who also chairs the county’s garbage service joint powers authority board.
Several cities are not taking the deferral route but Moura said San Carlos officials wanted to keep this year’s rate as low as possible.
Other costs are chalked up to new provider Recology that began its contract Jan. 1 with the South Bayside Waste Management Authority.
SBWMA, also known as RethinkWaste, broke with former provider Allied Waste to contract with Recology for the next decade. The change has brought new bins and new service but also new pricing for member agencies like Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo, Atherton and Hillsborough, San Mateo County and the West Bay Sanitary District.
The proposed rate change is based on several factors including a 10.1 percent jump for Recology’s collection services, a 15 percent increase for 2010 services including balancing out the contract with Allied, a 2.5 percent drop in revenue because of bin size reductions and a 2.2 percent revenue decrease based on an estimate of how many customers will switch to smaller containers this year.
“This year will be the toughest of all the rate increases because there are so many factors,” Moura said.
He predicts rates flattening out and stabilizing after 2012.
While San Carlos customers may be surprised by the increase, the figure is not the highest in San Mateo County. Atherton residents are on the highest end of the spectrum with a 38.9 percent proposal and Menlo Park has the lowest at 9.4 percent. In between, the proposals included 32.6 percent in Hillsborough, 23.3 percent in San Mateo, 29.5 percent in Foster City and Redwood City’s 18 percent.
If a majority of San Carlos residents protest the rate increase, it cannot pass. The city has approximately 12,000 parcels so a successful protest requires roughly more than 6,000 votes, Moura said.