San Mateo will increase monthly garbage rates in 2022 to accommodate rising treatment and disposal costs and revenue shortfalls, with maximum monthly increases of $4 for 20 or 32 gallon trash cans.
“Although our high rates still do not cover our expected costs and we plan to use our reserves, we have had to take steps to meet the cost of the collection services provided, including garbage, recycling and waste. organic,” said Public Works Director Azalea Mitch. by email.
A 20-gallon cart for residents will go from $15.59 to $19.59 and a 32-gallon cart from $24.93 to $28.93. A 64 gallon bin goes from $54.93 to $56.93 and a 96 gallon bin from $85.08 to $87.08.
Due to the success of recycling and composting programs, many residents have switched to smaller 20 or 32 gallon trash cans, which has reduced costs. About 80% of residents have a 20 or 32 gallon garbage cart. However, Mitch noted that residents currently pay about half of what it costs to collect most 20- to 32-gallon bins. New Senate Bill 1383 requires cities to offer organic product collection services to all residents and businesses in 2022, increasing collection costs. A comparison of residential rates showed that San Mateo has a lower rate compared to other cities in the area.
“The goal is to have a long-term plan that will gradually increase cart rates over time to cover service costs while minimizing the impact on our ratepayers,” Mitch said.
The council said the rate increases are designed to address changes in recycling profitability and rising costs. A city staff report cited compensation from waste management company Recology, disposal costs and municipal fees as the main factors in the rate increases. Recology’s expense for collection services is $15,438,500. An estimate of the city’s costs and revenues for 2022 for garbage showed the city needed revenues of $27,411,055. Even with the proposed rate increase, the city is still below projected revenues at $26,132,000. However, the shortfall of $1,279,055 that will be made up with existing reserves is less than the expected shortfall of $1,915,626 if rates were not increased. In 2020, the council decided not to increase garbage rates in 2021 and instead used the city’s rate stabilization funding to offset declining revenue due to the pandemic.
“We will re-evaluate the structure of solid waste rate increases next year to determine what additional increases will be needed,” Mitch said.
Commercial rates will increase based on size, ranging from approximately $3 to $20. A one yard commercial bin will increase from $166.84 to $170.18, an increase of $3.34. A two-yard bin at $333.77 will rise by $6.68, with a three-yard option from $500.64 to $510.65 and a six-yard bin from $975.49 to $995.
City staff said that based on public awareness, the majority of landlords did not protest the increased fees, a requirement for council to increase them. If a majority had opposed it in writing, the city could not increase the rates. San Mateo sent more than 28,000 notices to landlords, with the city receiving 34 protests.
The city voted Oct. 18 to raise rates 4-0, with Mayor Eric Rodriguez absent. The city first began discussing rate increases in a study session on May 3 to deal with falling revenues and rising costs. In May, a consulting firm found that if the city did not raise rates, its waste funding reserves would be depleted and rates would have to increase further once the city spent its reserves.