Annual Recology garbage rate bump minimal in Colusa, Williams

Thanks in large part to falling fuel costs, Colusa and Williams residents will not be paying much more for the trash collection services provided by Recology in the coming year.

Last week, Recology General Manager Salvatore Coniglio attended the city council meetings in both Williams and Colusa to present the company’s annual rate adjustments. The annual adjustments are automatic as stipulated in the contract between the two cities and Recology.

Recology’s rate adjustment formulas consist of three components: base rate, fuel, and disposal. The base rate is adjusted according to changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the previous year.

The base rate component includes the truck, the driver, and the cost of picking up the trash, excluding fuel costs.

The fuel and disposal components of the formula are adjusted according to the annual changes in fuel and transfer station base rates.

Colusa residential customers, who can choose from a 32, 64, or 96 gallons can, saw rates increase by an average of 0.86 percent. The resulting monthly residential rate increases will amount to $0.30 for customers with 32-gallon cans and $0.31 for those with 64 and 96-gallon cans. The total monthly rates for each of the sizes will be $34.28, $36.01 and $37.69, respectively, starting on Jan. 1. Commercial rates in the City of Colusa will also increase by 0.86 percent.

Colusa’s fuel rate component decreased by 24.28 percent, its base rate increased by 2.67 percent, and its disposal component increased 0.94 percent.

Last year, declined to approve a rate increase after Recology failed to announce their intention to raise rates before the contracted deadline on August 31. This year, Recology made the deadline with time to spare, and the council voted unanimously to acknowledge the increase.

Residential and commercial customers in Williams, who only have the option of a 96-gallon trash can, will have to pay $31.54 monthly, beginning on Jan. 1, 2017 — an increase of $0.46 per month, or 1.5 percent.

“Last year, there was quite a bit of discussion as to why the rates went up, and how it was calculated. So, I went into a little extra detail here,” City Administrator Frank Kennedy said. “We have been very fortunate in the last few years that the fuel rates have gone down.”

Over the last year, the fuel rate component of Recology’s formula dropped by 23.3 percent. The fuel rate constituted only $0.98 of the total monthly charge for Williams residents.

“With that said, I will warn you that in the future, when fuel goes up, you will see increases,” Kennedy said.

Councilmember Chuck Bergson expressed a desire to hold a public hearing to notice the public about the rate increases.

Kennedy replied that the rate increase isn’t a hearing issue, but rather is automatic and part of the city’s contract.

“But we could, like last year, notice the public that it’s being done,” Bergson said.

Bergson also mentioned that he had seen different sized cans in neighboring communities, and inquired about having the option for smaller cans in Williams.

“It’s possible, but it would be a lengthy process to re-negotiate the contract,” Coniglio said.

Kennedy said that the issue had been discussed at length last year and that the numbers didn’t pencil out. Williams residents already pay less for a 96 gallon can than Colusa residents do for a 32 gallon can. Coniglio said that this was partly due to the fact that with the larger garbage cans, recycling bins were less likely to be contaminated by non-recyclable waste. <

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net