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City to air proposal for increased recycling service, rates

January 21, 2019

NEEDLES — The city is planning four workshops for local residents and businesses leading up to a March 12 public hearing on proposed increases in services and rates for handling solid waste and recycling.

The city plans to continue an exclusive franchise agreement with Allied Waste Transportation Inc. (also known as Republic) through July 1, 2028, which includes collection, transportation and handling of solid waste and construction debris for commercial, industrial and residential properties. To date, Allied has been providing service for recyclables at little or no extra charge. That’s changing, in part due to California mandates for diversion and recycling and in part due to shifts in the global recycling commodities market, particularly the one known as “China Sword.” Cal Recycle describes the latter — they call it ‘National Sword’ — as recent and strict contamination limits and import bans by China which have led to stockpiling of materials at California solid waste and recycling facilities coupled with declining worldwide markets for recyclables. Read more at calrecycle.ca.gov.

The public hearing and opportunity for protests to the plan are being held to satisfy provisions of California’s 22-year-old Proposition 218: “The Right to Vote on Taxes Act.” The workshops, to be conducted by city staff, have been scheduled:

Monday, Jan. 28, at 4 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 4, at 5 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 15, at 9 a.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 20 at noon;

all in council chambers at 1111 Bailey Ave.

Proposed new rates, detailed in the city’s notice of the public hearing and calculated by container sizes and collection frequency, include:

• Commercial or multi-family recycling cart rates at $23.73 for a 95 gallon cart or $47.76 for a 196 gallon container. Examples are shown for up to three carts collected up to six times a month ($427.14); or containers twice a month.

• Commercial cardboard recycling, once a month, at $40 for three cubic yards.

• Residential recycling carts at $2 per month in addition to current rates of $24.39 per month for pickup twice a week: once for a trash cart, once for a recycling cart. Examples are shown for up to four carts.

Residential bin rates are listed at $89.47 for 1.5 cubic yards; $148.55 for three cubic yards.

An annual rate adjustment is to start Jan. 1, 2020, equal to the U.S. city average Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers of water, sewer and trash collection services.

The proposed rate structure prompted lengthy conversation at the Needles City Council meeting of Jan. 8; with Councilor Clayton Hazlewood repeatedly questioning whether the city could find a better deal. Eventually, an intermission was called to allow council members to confer privately with city management and legal counsel. Afterward, the item came to a vote with only Hazlewood dissenting.

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