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Community Meeting to Discuss Garbage/Recyling Service and Proposed Rate Increase

Good afternoon –

I apologize if you are receiving this information twice, but I want to make sure you know about a community information meeting next week, to bring residents up-to-speed on a moderate garbage rate increase proposed for next year. I also want to assure you that the City is well aware of the difficulties that some residents may experience, in light of rising costs in these and other services. We’ve been diligent in our efforts to try to mitigate increases in garbage rates (and water and sewer rates), and reduce “sticker shock” for customers. Our proposed rate increase for garbage is 7.81% – which is less than most cities are proposing.

For the great majority of Redwood City households (most of which have a 32-gallon cart), this increase represents an additional $1.93 per month/per cart (for those with 20-gallon carts the proposed increase is 81¢ per month/per cart). Corresponding increases would be effective for larger carts and for commercial service.

The City will hold a community information meeting on Thursday, December 15, 2011, starting at 7 pm, in the Community Room of the Downtown Library, 1044 Middlefield Road. At this meeting, staff from Redwood City, Recology, and the South Bayside Waste Management Authority (SBWMA/RethinkWaste) will be present and provide an update on garbage and recycling services, including a proposed new Household Hazardous Waste collection service. And, the latest information on the proposed 2012 rate increase will be discussed. (you probably know that SBWMA is the joint powers authority representing the various cities and agencies that contract with Recology). Also, I’ll publicize it on the first of the year, but you should know that the required public hearing on the proposed increase is scheduled for January 9, 2012, at 7 pm at City Hall.

In brief, the rate increase is due to higher costs and lower revenues than originally anticipated, during Recology’s first year of service and projected for service to be provided in 2012. Also, the new Household Hazardous Waste curbside collection service that is being considered, which I think you’ll agree is a great idea, contributes a small percentage to the proposed increase.

As you may know, rates charged to customers must reflect Recology’s actual cost of providing service, and must take into account the contractually-agreed upon revenues (typical in the garbage/recycling collection industry). Each year an analysis is done of the prior year’s and upcoming year’s expenses and revenues. A rate recommendation is made by SBWMA, which is then considered by the City Council. Based on that analysis for 2011 and 2012, the proposed 7.81% rate increase is made up of:

• 2.9% to cover cost increases that occurred in 2011

• 2.3% to cover anticipated cost increases for 2012

• 0.61% to cover the proposed Household Hazardous Waste Collection service

• 2.0% to cover anticipated revenue shortfall in 2012 due to cart-size reductions (customers choosing to move to a smaller cart, at a lower cost)

If the proposed rates are approved by the City Council at the public hearing on January 9, the rate increase would be effective the following day, January 10, 2012. Notices of the proposed increase have been sent to all garbage/recycling service customers in Redwood City. Customers have the opportunity to protest the proposed rate increase in advance of the public hearing by writing to the City. Details of the protest procedure were included in the mailing, and are also available online, along with more information on the proposed rates, at www.redwoodcity.org/garbagerates.

Finally, in the interest of keeping you fully informed, I want to mention that in spring of 2012 the City will need to propose increases in water and sewer rates, due to continually escalating costs in those services (for a number of years, we’ve informed you that rate increases for those services would likely be an annual occurrence, for the foreseeable future). As I said, we understand that these increases are a challenge for many residents, and we continue to work very hard to keep necessary increases to a moderate level.

Please plan on attending the community information meeting on December 15, at which our staff, and that of Recology and the SBWMA, can answer any questions or concerns.

Thank you,

~malcolm

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