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FAQ's

Want to find out more about our the proposed solid waste rate adjustments? The answers to the most frequently asked questions can be found below.

  • When do the new rates take effect?
  • Will there be any changes in service?
  • Why are solid waste rates proposed to increase?
  • When was the last time the rates were adjusted?
  • Why is the City conducting a rate study now?
  • How are solid waste charges calculated?
  • Do the rates customers pay cover all of the costs to provide service?

The City Council will consider adopting the Proposed Rate Adjustments following a public hearing was scheduled for October 27, 2020 and continued to November 17, 2020. If approved, the Proposed Rate Adjustments will be effective starting July 1, 2021.

 

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In addition to the Proposed Rate Adjustments there are changes in services and new fees.

Below are the changes in commercial services:

 

Sunday Service Surcharge: A Sunday service surcharge will be imposed for accounts serviced less than seven days a week with a pick-up day on Sunday. Businesses will have the option to switch their Sunday service to another day to avoid a Sunday service surcharge, provided there are no sanitary issues with the switch from a Sunday pick-up.

 

Separate 65-Gallon Organics Cart Service: The separate 65-gallon organic cart provides service to comply with the State Assembly Bill 1826. Every business that generates four cubic yards of solid waste a week and every multi-family property five units or more must subscribe to an organic recycling service. The goal of the regulation is to reduce organic waste from the landfills.

 

Recycling Bin Rate Fee: Beginning July 1, 2021, customers with a recycling bin will be charged a bin rate. The recycling bin rate will be 50% of the refuse rate for the same bin size and frequency collection. Residents can dispose of recyclables and waste in the same container. The recyclables are then separated from waste at the processing facility. Some residents prefer to have a separate container for recyclables.

 

Below are the changes in residential services:

 

Collection Day Curbside Roll-Out Service Discontinued: The City provided a curbside roll-out service to properties north of Santa Monica Boulevard that are serviced by curbside collection, this includes north of Sunset Blvd. and the Trousdale estate area. Due to COVID-19, the curbside roll-out service was discontinued to ensure the safety of City staff and residents. Prior to COVID-19, staff proposed to discontinue this service, due to non-compliance, lack of space for staging containers and burden of resources to run the program. Customers paying for the collection day curbside roll-out fee will be removed from the bill.

 

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Rates for solid waste services are proposed to increase to ensure adequate revenues are available to deliver high quality services to the community. Many solid waste aspects are increasing in cost including: collection, recycling processing, disposal at landfills and other facilities, equipment, fuel charges, public outreach, and State mandated solid waste diversion programs including organics recycling. In addition, sales of recyclable materials generate revenue to reduce rates and avoid cost and impacts of disposal at landfills. However, recent changes to international policies restricting imports of recyclable materials and declining global market value for recyclables have resulted in a significant decline in the sale value of recyclable materials.

 

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The City's solid waste service charges have remained the same since 2011, despite the addition of State mandated programs for organics processing and several escalations in the price of landfill disposal and recycling and organics processing.

 

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Customer rates are reviewed regularly to ensure that there are sufficient revenues to cover expenses and that customers pay the correct charges for the type of service they receive. Rate studies also help to accomplish the following:

 

1) Estimate the residential and commercial rate adjustments required from fiscal year 21/22 through fiscal year 25/26.

 

2) Maintain adequate reserves. It is the City's policy to maintain at least a 50% reserve ratio, however in order to lessen the impact on rate payers, the City will use money from the reserve fund to moderate the increases in rates and cover operational costs which may impact the reserve fund below the 50% ratio.

 

3) Each sector (residential, commercial, and alley maintenance) stands on its own and at a minimum break even (zero net income) by fiscal year 25/26.

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Single-family residents are billed bimonthly per square foot of lot area. Homes with at least 40% of unusable hillside are charged at the hillside area rate per square foot of lot area. Multi-family residents (including duplexes) are billed bimonthly per dwelling unit.

Multi-family residents place their solid waste in shared 300-gallon containers in the alley. An alley maintenance fee is charged to all properties service by alleys. This fee pays for the bi-monthly debris removal and sweeping.

Commercial customer charges are calculated using rates based on container size, number of containers, type of container, frequency of pick-up, and incidentals like scout service and locking lids.

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In addition to the revenues received from rate payers, the City is using money from its Solid Waste Reserve Fund to moderate the increase in the rates and cover the costs of operation. It is important to maintain a healthy balance in the Solid Waste Reserve Fund to address unforeseen emergencies. For example, in the event of a major earthquake, money from the Reserve Fund would be used to provide citywide debris removal, as well as to acquire a location to stage debris before its disposal. At its public hearing to adopt rates on October 27, 2020 the City Council may consider an option, which uses a greater amount of Reserve Funds, and result in rate increases, which would be $1.00 to $3.00 lower per billing period for single family residential customers, than those indicated in this notice. Lower rate increases would also result for commercial customers.

 

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