So-called "concierge service" customers, who need drivers to walk on or drive onto their properties to empty disposal carts, will receive a rate hike ranging from 50% to more than 400%, according to Sloan Vasquez McAfee, the solid waste consulting firm that negotiated the contracts with Woodside and Portola Valley over the past 18 months.
The top-end concierge service increases apply only to customers who need drivers to drive from 100 feet to more than 400 feet onto their properties to reach the carts.
The move follows the Portola Valley council's approval of a virtually identical contract on Nov. 13.
The Woodside council had discussed seeking other bidders at its Nov. 12 meeting because of the magnitude of the proposed increases.
"There are only a limited number of providers," Woodside Mayor Ned Yost said on Nov. 19. "We might have saved 1% or 2% (by going out for bids). Saving 5% to 10% would have been worth it."
Twelve percent of Woodside customers will receive a 33% to 100% increase, 10% will receive a 101% to 200% increase, and 5% will be hit with an increase surpassing 200%, according to GreenWaste communications director Emily Hanson.
"We figured out the cost if everything was curbside, and then subtracted that from our total projected cost to determine what to charge (for special services)," she said.
The new contracts will allow for a 9% annual profit for GreenWaste, compared with a 2% loss in 2018-19, according to Hanson.
The contracts also include an annual cost-of-living increase. GreenWaste can come back to the towns and request a rate hike beyond the cost of living, she said.
A number of negative factors are squeezing GreenWaste's bottom line, according to the company, including China's recent refusal to buy all but the cleanest and most valuable recycling.
Stocks of waste paper for recycling are piling up at collection points in the Bay Area, said Joe Sloan of Sloan Vasquez McAfee. Before China's change in policy, a ton of waste paper sold for between $100 and $200. Today, a recycler must pay $40 a ton to get someone to haul it away, Sloan said.
The price of a full-sized garbage and recycling truck providing curbside service has also risen from about $250,000 when the current contract took effect to between $400,000 and $500,000 today, Hanson said.
Statewide, communities are receiving an average of 30% to 70% in rate increases, Sloan said.
"The (current) rates are artificially suppressed," Hanson said.
GreenWaste implemented a 3% hike in 2014 exceeding cost-of-living increases that the two towns agreed to, according to the company.
The huge concierge service increases come from a number of factors, including the need to buy and use smaller collection trucks to serve hillside neighborhoods where most of the drive-on and walk-on collection occurs, Hanson said.
"The smaller trucks also have to make more trips to San Jose to dump their loads during the day (which takes them offline)," she said.
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