News - March 31, 2010

Atherton hikes trash rates 17 percent

by Andrea Gemmet

Atherton residents are going to be facing the first increase in garbage rates that they've seen for years. The Atherton City Council, on 5-0 vote at the March 17 meeting, approved a nearly 17 percent increase to garbage and recycling rates.

For the majority of Atherton residents, the rate will go up by $4 per month. The rate for one 32-gallon can will be $27.69.

Atherton residents who don't want to drag their cans to the curb will face a new $20 monthly surcharge for backyard service. The surcharge will be waived for disabled residents.

"The fact is, we haven't had an increase in a number of years," said Councilwoman Elizabeth Lewis. "The reserves have been eaten away and now here we are, and we've got to take our lumps."

Garbage rates in Atherton were last increased in 2002. That 14 percent bump, meant to cover unlimited green waste service, exceeded Atherton's garbage hauling expenses and prevented the town from having to approve any further rate increases until now. In 2009, the balance shifted, and the reserves were eaten up.

Under the agreement between the town and Republic Services (formerly Allied Waste), trash and recycling fees cover the cost of service plus a 9 percent profit.

Several residents wrote to the town to protest either the increases or the backyard-service surcharge.


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