Starting July 1, Menlo Park homeowners will pay $5 more per can, per month, to have their garbage picked up.
The City Council signed off on the rate hike at its meeting Tuesday, March 23. Council members said their hands were tied due to greatly increased costs to the company that handles the city's waste disposal.
Under the new rates approved by the council, garbage fees would also increase by 28 percent this year for multi-family and commercial property owners.
The garbage company, Allied Waste, cited several reasons for the rate increase, including higher labor and fuel costs, and the cost of complying with state air-quality law.
Allied's profits also increased by 4.5 percent in 2009; those profits are fixed as a percentage of total costs.
An independent consultant reviewed the company's accounting procedures, according to Menlo Park staff.
For owners of single-family homes, the city chose to implement a flat fee because it was easier to predict how much money the fee would generate, according to Finance Director Carol Augustine. The city is in debt to the tune of nearly $1 million with Allied Waste, whose contract with Menlo Park expires at the end of the year.
The rate hikes follow an 18 percent increase last year. Some homeowners have seen nearly a 70 percent rate increase since 2008.
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 rate 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. Homeowners pay for garbage collection through their property tax bill.
Councilman Andy Cohen dissented in the 4-1 vote.