San Francisco garbage rate increase proposed
By Brigid Gaffikin, Bay City News Service
April 10, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Garbage rates for San Francisco
residents could go up by around $3 per month this year if a rate
increase recommended by the city's Department of Public Works
The department has proposed rate increases totaling 26.98 percent
over the next five years, with the first increase of 15.69 percent
to come into effect on July 1 and then further increases scheduled
each July through 2011.
That timetable of rate increases is the same as the existing
one, in which rate increases approved in 2001 have been introduced
each July since then.
The current monthly charge for collecting a single 32-gallon
black can is $19.08; the new rate would be $22.07 per month, according
to the department.
Blue recycling and green yard and food waste bins will continue
to be collected free of charge.
But a final decision about higher garbage rates won't be made
until May because of an appeals process open to residents and
garbage companies until April 21, according to department Finance
Manager Douglas Legg.
Because of the appeals process, "It's possible rates wouldn't
go up at all but I anticipate that rates will increase,'' Legg
Sunset Scavenger and Golden Gate Recycling and Disposal, subsidiaries
of Norcal Waste Systems, currently provide waste disposal services
in San Francisco. Those companies proposed a 36 percent rate increase
through 2011. Both companies stated in their rate-increase applications
to the city that the higher fees for garbage collection would
help San Francisco reach its goal of diverting 75 percent of the
city's garbage from landfill by 2010, according to the department.
Legg said that the disposal companies have applied for a rate
increase to help cover plant operating expenses and the growing
cost of recycling -- including hiring additional staff to manually
sort the increasing amounts of glass, paper and other products
residents throw out every week.
"It's surprising how much manual labor is required'' to
sort garbage for recycling, he said.
"As the public has become more aware of the recycling program,
every year the number of tons that people are putting in their
bin is going up. So (Sunset Scavenger and Golden Gate Recycling
and Disposal have) steadily been increasing the number of sorters,''
While Sunset Scavenger and Golden Gate Recycling and Disposal
are private companies, the city regulates their activity, Legg
Anyone objecting to the rate recommendation can file an appeal
with the San Francisco Rate Board. The deadline for appeals is
Friday, April 21 at 5 p.m. Appeals will be considered at a meeting
in May and a final decision about the garbage collection rate
will be made by May 21, according to the Department of Public
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