The “last piece” needed to implement changes to the way that garbage and organic wastes are disposed of in Ceres starting in January was approved last week in a 3-1 vote of the City Council.
On June 28, the council approved changes to the Ceres Municipal Code necessary to set up a framework for a new solid waste collection program that aligns with the new rate structure adopted in 2020 and allows for enforcement of prohibited activities and to bring the city into compliance with regulatory mandates and address ongoing illegal disposal activities.
The last step was to make changes to the contract the city has with Bertolotti which has been in place since 1992.
Vice Mayor Couper Condit offered no explanation at the meeting as to why he voted against amending the contract with Bertolotti Disposal to comply with state laws requiring the addition of an organics program. The Courier reached out to ask Condit for a comment and he said his opposition vote was based on his strong disagreement “with allowing Sacramento politicians to decide when municipalities raise taxes on ratepayers.” Condit also stated that “the city of Ceres, routinely, does not go through the process of putting expiring contracts out to bid. Local governments should act on behalf of their citizens not the ever growing state bureaucracy.”
State lawmakers have passed a number of bills which mandate that cities have an organics recycling program. The key change in Ceres will be the introduction of a new waste container and moving the lead and limb program from year round to seasonal from Oct. 1 to Jan. 9 only.
It also makes provision for illegal disposal collection and periodic audit of the waste stream to insure that residents are correctly sorting out their trash.
The city has raised rates on garbage service to offset the cost of 12,000 new Toters for organics and the essential vehicles needed to pick them up.
Public Works Director Jeremy Damas said cities which do not comply with the mandates of the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) could face fines of $5,000 per day through AB 1383.
In September 2020, then Vice Mayor Linda Ryno said nobody on the council wanted to see residents pay more for garbage service but reiterated her belief that after examining what other cities’ residents are paying the proposed higher rates “really aren’t that bad in comparison.” She said there is no purpose in putting off the inevitable.
Under the three-can system:
• Recyclables such as cardboard, phone books, magazines and newsprint, brown paper bags, glass bottles and jars, plastic containers, office paper, empty aerosol cans and certain plastics go into the blue can.
• The green can will be for the deposit of organic wastes like yard and garden waste, lawn clippings, leaves, limbs, coffee grounds, fruit, leftover foods, meat, paper towels and plates and small pieces of wood.
• The black can will be for household waste that doesn’t belong in either the organic or recycling cans.