The city of Hermosa Beach will hold a public hearing at the City Council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 26 for anyone to speak out on a new trash hauling contract for residents and businesses.
The City Council will hear testimony at the 7 p.m. meeting, and the City Clerk will accept written protests through the 26th on the proposed new trash contract with Athens Services that would increase rates for commercial businesses. The new contract would also increase rates for any residential homeowner that throws out more waste than can fit in a 64-gallon container.
The City Council adopted a pay-as-you-throw system last July in which residents would pay for the amount of garbage they discard. The new system encourages recycling insofar as residents could use an unlimited number of recycling carts. They could also opt into a green waste program.
Under the new “cart” system, residents would be charged by the size of the container they use for refuse. Currently, residents pay a flat $11.57 fee for unlimited trash collection with Consolidated Disposal Service. Beginning as soon as April, residents would have the option of using a 35-gallon cart for $6.69, a 64-gallon cart for $10.69 or a 95-gallon cart for $14.69.
The new contract was scheduled to go into effect at the beginning of the year. Until it is finalized, the city will continue to operate under the terms of the previous contract with Consolidated.
The City Council originally approved a pay-as-you-throw system for both residences and businesses, although the contract was amended in the fall to allow commercial businesses to mix trash and recyclables together. Athens will separate the recyclables at a sorting facility. Downtown businesses will pay for trash compactors through increased fees, according to the contract.
The city recently mailed letters to property owners informing them of the public hearing and proposed rate increase. “The purpose of the proposed fee increases is to cover the increase in the costs associated with collecting solid waste, including operational costs such as fuel, labor and disposal costs, and administrative costs, while allowing equivalent or improved level and quality of service for Hermosa Beach residents and businesses,” the letter said.
Hermosa Beach residents enjoy one of the lowest trash rates in L.A. County, said Laith Ezzet of HF&H Consultants, which has advised the city on the new trash contract. Ezzet said there are no projections indicating the number of residents that will see an increase in their trash bill. However, Ezzet said that based on what he has witnessed in other cities with similar pay-as-you-throw systems, “a majority” of Hermosa Beach residents would likely see a rate decrease under the new contract.