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City to vote on trash fee hike

The increase would add $980,000 of revenues to public works department, staff report says.

June 18, 2007|By Ryan Vaillancourt

GLENDALE — The City Council will decide on Tuesday whether to grant a Department of Public Works request to increase trash collection fees by 7%.

Rising fuel costs, landfill fees and environmental regulations that require the city to replace their older, diesel trash trucks with alternative fuel vehicles are behind the department's push to boost collection fees, Public Works Director Steve Zurn said.

"We don't take the rate review lightly," Zurn said. "It's needed."

If approved by the council on Tuesday, the fee increase would up customers' monthly bill by $1.11, from $15.85 to $16.95.

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The measure would generate about $980,000 in additional revenues to the department's enterprise fund, according to a city staff report.

With a 17% increase in fuel costs since last year and a 42-truck Integrated Waste Management fleet that consumes about 400,000 gallons of fuel annually, the department is going to need that additional revenue, Zurn said.

"Three years ago, we were paying about $500,000 a year in fuel and we're projecting $1.2 million for next year, so it's quite an increase," he said.

All but one of the department's trash trucks run on diesel fuel, with one truck — added to the fleet in December — that runs on compressed natural gas.

A rule passed by the South Coast Air Quality Management District in 2000 mandates local municipalities with a fleet of more than 15 trash collecting vehicles to purchase compressed natural gas-fueled vehicles when replacing old trucks.

The required trucks account for an 80% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions compared to diesel trucks, said Mario Nunez, Integrated Waste Management administrator.

"The great news is the new trucks are cleaner and a lot more quiet," Nunez said.

But at a price of about $230,000, each new truck the city purchases will cost about $60,000 more than the diesel-burning trucks, Nunez said.

Next year, Integrated Waste Management plans to invest about $2 million in the purchase of seven new compressed natural gas-burning vehicles, Nunez said.

Adding to department costs is a 9% jump in the dumping fee at Scholl Canyon Landfill that was implemented in January.

With the dumping fee increase, the city pays a discounted rate of about $29 per ton.

Integrated Waste Management deposits about 35,000 tons of residential trash and 33,000 tons of commercial waste a year in Scholl Canyon, Nunez said.

The proposed fee increase would keep Glendale's collection price at about half the rates of nearby Pasadena and Burbank.

Current monthly rates for single-family residences in Pasadena and Burbank are $31.83 and $31.39 respectively, according to a survey compiled by the city.

QUESTION

What do you think about the proposed trash collection fee increase? E-mail gnp@latimes.com or write to News-Press Community Forum, 221 N. Brand Blvd., 2nd Floor, Glendale, CA 91203. Please include your name and tell us your hometown and phone number for verification purposes only.


  • RYAN VAILLANCOURT covers business and politics. He may be reached at (818) 637-3215 or by e-mail at ryan.vaillancourtlatimes.com.

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