San Luis Obispo city residents could see their largest garbage rate increase in years, as trash companies react to inflation and new state waste mandates.
On April 19, the SLO City Council will consider a 17.75 percent increase to local garbage rates, with a temporary 26 percent increase in effect for the remainder of 2022.
"It is the highest rate increase proposed that we've seen in the last seven years," SLO Solid Waste and Recycling Coordinator Jordan Lane said. "Inflation has not only affected fuel, but also things like insurance premiums and labor. Expenses like electricity—all of those utilities going up affect our rates."
- File Photo By Bulbul Rajagopal
- COST OF COMPOST California's more aggressive mandates for organic waste diversion is getting blamed for a major garbage rate increase in San Luis Obispo.
SLO's mailed rate notice states that the increase is necessary to cover San Luis Garbage's rising costs from inflation, capital investments to meet more aggressive organic waste diversion requirements, wage adjustments, and rising insurance premiums.
If adopted, customers' average monthly bill would increase about $5 per month for a residential customer, and about $100 per month for a commercial account, depending on the business, according to Lane.
While SLO ratepayers may get sticker shock from the increase, Lane said that it's actually less severe than some other local cities. Without naming names, Lane said she's seen rate applications at other municipalities come in with increases of as much as 45 percent.
"Even after implementing the rate increase, we expect the city of SLO's residential customers, on average, to see a garbage bill that's 10 to 15 percent less than other local cities," she said.
Still, some local bill payers are unhappy with the proposed hike. Customers can "protest" the new rate through the Proposition 218 process, which requires that a majority of customers protest the rate hike via mail to defeat it. A few letters had hit the City Hall mailbox as of March 23.
"The proposed increase of 17.75 percent is excessive," resident Mark Frauenheim wrote in a protest letter. "The cost increase basis provided in the notice appears to be taking advantage of current general inflation levels to cumulatively add in all of the nice-to-do's and justify one large increase." Δ