The public will have a chance to protest a series of rate increases for garbage service on Monday, Nov. 23.
Proposition 218 requires that a protest hearing first be held before a government entity can increase fees for service. A notice of public hearing detailing the proposed rate changes was mailed to Ceres households on Oct. 1 and available online for review. Residents have a 45-day window to submit written protests leading up to the Nov. 23 public hearing.
In September the City Council learned that the city will need to increase garbage rates because of actions taken by state lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The city contracts with Bertolotti Ceres Disposal for garbage pickup and disposal services. Rates have not been raised since 2012. Because of laws passed by the state Legislature and signed into law by the governor mandating the recycling of organic wastes and recyclable materials, rates are going up.
To meet the new state mandates, the city plans to go to a three-can system on Jan. 1, 2022. To pull that off, Bertolotti must purchase 12,000 new containers and buy two new trucks. Those added costs for the company will be passed onto the ratepayers over five years, beginning on Jan. 1, 2021. A second increase will follow on Sept. 1, 2021. Additional five percent increases are expected to follow on Jan. 1, 2022, Jan. 1, 2023 and Jan. 1, 2024. Public Works Director Jeremy Damas said the first increase amounts to an extra $7 per month on the monthly garbage bill.
Before cities can increase rates for services, Prop. 218 requires a protest hearing to be held. Citizens may object to a rate hike, but under Prop. 218 at least half of affected residents must object to stop such an increase.
In September 2021 the rates would jump to $32.93 per month for garbage service. Damas said that second rate increase would be timed with the end of the leaf-and-limb program in exchange of a third waste-wheeler.
Under the three-can system, recyclables like 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.
The fee increase would help Bertolotti hire more staff, buy more equipment and purchase 12,000 new Toters for Ceres residents.
Damas said the proposed rates are comparable rates to what other cities are charging.
Bertolotti Ceres Disposal has provided solid waste collection services in Ceres since June 1971 and has worked closely with the city in developing and implementing special solid waste collection, recycling, and organics programs.
New state recycling laws gives cities the option of going with a two-can system such as Modesto has. Under that system, household waste goes in one can while the green container accepts all recycled materials like grass clippings, green waste, cardboard and paper. Bertolotti would then have to take the recycling container to a separating facility and then haul it again which would increase costs “tremendously,” said Damas.
The other option is a three-can system.
The contract with Bertolotti must be changed with adoption of Assembly Bills 939, (California Integrated Waste Management Act), 341, (Mandatory Commercial Recycling), 1826, (Mandatory Organics Recycling) and Senate Bill 1383, (Organic Waste Reduction). For more information visit http://ci.ceres.ca.us/527/Solid-Waste-Recycling-Programs.