San Jose’s garbage collection rates will likely increase in July.
City officials say they need to increase garbage collection rates by as much as 8% for single-family homes and up to 4% for multi-family homes due to rising costs from waste collection contractors. The City Council will vote on the increases at Tuesday’s meeting.
If approved, about 85% of household garbage collection bills will increase by $3.66 and multi-family homes will go up by $1.16 per month per unit, according to city documents. The higher rates would generate an additional $10 million in revenue to cover cost increases.
The contract costs went up by 4.5% this year based on cost of living adjustments and increased operational costs for waste haulers. Contractural costs make up 90% of the city’s waste management budget. The city contracts with four different waste management companies: Greenwaste, GreenTeam, Garden City Sanitation and California Waste Solutions.
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“I’m disappointed to see another rate increase for garbage and recycling services, especially after the large rate increase that we had last year,” Councilmember Pam Foley told San José Spotlight. “Despite that, I do understand the need for a rate increase, with inflation, the cost of living increasing and the increase we need to be able to cover the contractual obligations that we have.”
Foley opposed last year’s rate increase which went up by as much as 17%. At the time she pointed out that water and utility rates were rising, and encouraged officials to push off rate increases another year, noting it was the wrong time to place a financial burden on residents.
She said while the increased rates are significantly smaller than last year, it will hurt residents economically.
“It results in a negative impact on our residents’ pocketbooks and it’s our job as the city to ensure we are getting the best deal for our residents,” Foley said.
More than 250 residents wrote to the City Council in protest of the rate increase within the last few months, but that constitutes less than 1% of impacted residents. About 50% of residents would have to protest to stop the increase, according to California law.
One resident was particularly upset because rates continue to rise without an increase in services. He also said the city needs to drastically change how it manages its recycling.
“If you were able to see the contradiction of sending our recyclables halfway across the world to process, you would find a way of processing these items here in our region and reducing costs and employing more of our residents,” San Jose resident Scott Korby wrote to the City Council. “There is no stated timeframe that this increase is to cover. It seems most likely that you are going to do this again next year.”
Kerrie Romanow, director of environmental services which oversees the city’s waste management, wrote the rate increases are essential and “robust” because they include unlimited recycling, unlimited street yard trimming collection, unlimited on-demand junk pickups at no additional cost, used oil collection and the processing of all waste to recover organics and recyclables.
“This combination of services results in San Jose having one of the most effective residential recycling programs in the area,” Romanow wrote in a memo, adding 70% of residents found the city’s garbage and recycling programs to be “good or excellent.”
The San Jose City Council meets Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Learn how to watch and participate.
Contact Jana Kadah at email@example.com or @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.
This story will be updated.
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