(San Francisco Department of Public Works)
San Francisco, CA – Recology, the San Francisco refuse-collection and processing company, has requested a 21.5 percent revenue increase for residential service that if approved would take effect late summer 2013.
The change in monthly rates would vary based on the type and frequency of service received. Under the final proposal, the average single-family household with a trio of 32-gallon black, blue and green bins would pay a $34.51 monthly charge. That represents a $6.60 increase from the current rate. Customers switching from a 32-gallon black trash bin to a 20-gallon trash bin would pay $25.13 per month.
A new rate structure for apartment buildings would be enacted with discounts offered to encourage greater recycling and composting. Apartment rate increases would be capped at 25 percent in 2014 and 50 percent in 2015.
Recology initially requested a 23.75 percent increase in its draft application filed with the City in December. The final application was submitted Thursday.
The director of the San Francisco Department of Public Works will review the final application, hold public hearings and issue a report and recommended order that takes into account whether the company’s request is just and reasonable.
The recommendation will be forwarded to the City’s Rate Board for consideration, with a final decision expected in the summer. The board is made up of the City Controller, the City Administrator and general manager of the Public Utilities Commission.
Members of the public are encouraged to participate in the rate-adjustment process, and will have many opportunities to comment and ask questions.
An informational workshop on the final rate application will be held on Thursday, March 21, 4 to 7 p.m. at San Francisco City Hall, 1 Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 421. Representatives from the Department of Public Works, the Department of the Environment and Recology will be available to provide an overview of the proposed rate increase and to answer questions. No official action will be taken.
The first of several more formal DPW director’s hearings has been scheduled for 1 p.m. on April 12 at City Hall, Room 408.
Recology currently charges residential customers based on the volume of the black “trash” bin only, although all customers are required to separate recyclables and compostables in the blue and green bins. But as more people are composting and recycling and switching to smaller black bins, the company says it needs to start collecting a fixed charge for blue and green bins to cover expenses. The company also is seeking additional revenue to pay for rising labor and fuel costs and to test a new trash-processing system to increase diversion from landfill.
The City last approved an increase in residential refuse-collection rates in 2006, and agreed to allow an annual adjustment for inflation for five years. Recology last adjusted rates for inflation in 2010.
Under a proposed agreement with the City, Recology also would take over the collection of illegally dumped trash, and service San Francisco’s sidewalk and park trash receptacles more frequently.
The City has contracted with a “ratepayer advocate” to assist the public during the rate-application proceedings. The ratepayer advocate provides the public with clear and accurate information regarding the proposed new rate structure; helps individuals and organizations formulate comments and questions; and represents the views of the ratepayers during public workshops and hearings. The role of the ratepayer advocate does not preclude members of the public from offering testimony in writing or in person on their own.
The ratepayer advocate can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 415-554-6921 or in writing at SF Ratepayer Advocate, c/o HFH Consultants, 201 North Civic Drive, Suite 230, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.
More details on the final rate application and on the review and approval process can be found online at www.sfdpw.org/refuserates.