Almanac

News - March 24, 2010

Garbage: Menlo Park residents in line for big rate hike

by Sean Howell

If you live in Menlo Park, taking out the trash is about to get a lot more expensive.

Under a proposal by city management, garbage rates would increase 28 percent this year for multi-family and commercial property owners. They would jump by $5 per can, per month for owners of single-family homes, regardless of the can's size.

Those rate hikes follow an 18 percent increase last year, as the city works to pay off its debt with a waste provider whose contract is about to expire.

Some homeowners would be in line for nearly a 70 percent rate increase since 2008, if the City Council adopts the recommendation by city management at its meeting Tuesday, March 23. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, located in the Civic Center complex.

Rates for homeowners with one 32-gallon can would increase to $19.80 per month, and rates for homeowners with two or three 32-gallon cans would increase to $48 or $72, respectively. Those rates are close to the average in the South Bay Waste Management Agency.

While several factors play into the decision on setting garbage rates, the primary one is the cost to the city's provider, Allied Waste. The city's rate increases have not kept pace with those costs, putting Menlo Park into nearly $1 million of debt with Allied.

An independent contractor reviewed Allied's cost numbers, according to city staff.

Recology will take over the city's waste-collection contract in early 2011. The company changed its name from Norcal Waste after two major bribery scandals in the past decade.

The cost increase to commercial and multi-tenant property owners will be retroactive to the beginning of this year, while rate increases for single-family homes won't go into effect until July 1.

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