Most single-family homes in Lodi will see a monthly increase in their solid waste bills next year.
The increase is the result of Senate Bill 1383, state legislation that requires every jurisdiction to provide organic waste collection services.
The city of Lodi, along with several other cities in California, has pledged to comply with the new law by January 1, 2023.
The bill’s goal is to reduce organic waste disposal in landfills from 23 million tonnes to 5.7 million tonnes by 2025.
To comply with the law, Waste Management, the city’s solid waste collection service, will ask residents to deposit food waste in their green containers, which will be picked up on a weekly basis, rather than on the current schedule of every two weeks.
Increased green waste collection will lead to higher monthly garbage rates, the city said.
Bradley Sia, spokesman for Waste Management, told Lodi City Council during its shirt meeting Tuesday morning that 52% of single-family homes in Lodi use 35-gallon trash cans at the current monthly rate of $30.60. Another 18% of single-family homes have 20-gallon containers and pay a monthly rate of $20.82.
In addition, 28% of customers use 64-gallon containers at a monthly rate of $46.06 and 3% use a 96-gallon container at a monthly rate of $110.37.
Waste Management has proposed three new rate structures that will help the city comply with SB 1383.
The first structure is a simple $5 increase for all customers regardless of container size, while the other two rate structures include a seniors discount.
In these models, Waste Management would provide 3,062 seniors with 35-gallon containers, but only charge them $25.82, which would equal the proposed $5 increase for single-family homes that use the 20-gallon container. .
In one model, customers with the 35-gallon container would be charged $35.60 per month, which equals the proposed $5 increase for that container size.
Customers with 64 gallon and 96 gallon containers would be charged $44 per month.
However, in the latest model, all customers who are not eligible for a senior discount would pay $43 per month, regardless of container size.
The 20-gallon container would be eliminated as part of the senior discount models.
Sia said the senior discount rate structures were developed with the belief that most customers will want to upgrade from a 35 gallon container.
“That’s where we see a big disparity in customers saying ‘I’d like to grow,'” he said. “But at over $50 a month, there’s no incentive there. By compressing fares and making 64 and 96 the same, more than likely residents will say that if I pay the same fares, why don’t I maximize the value of what I get.
Under the first senior discount model, Waste Management expects only 10% of customers to use the 35 gallon containers, while 35% will use the 64 gallon containers and 40% will use the 96 gallon containers.
According to the second model, the company estimates that 15% of customers will use the 35 gallon containers, while 35% will use the 46 gallon containers and 35% will use the 96 gallon containers.
In both scenarios, seniors will make up 15% of customers, Sia said.
“Going with the $5 increase) might be the best thing because we are forced to increase our (container) size,” Councilman Alan Nakanishi said. “So if we force everyone to go from $25 (per month for a 20 gallon container) to $43 (per month for all containers), that’s an increase of $18.”
Councilman Doug Kuehne preferred the third model because it offered a discount for seniors and a general rate for everyone else.
“I think with more people becoming aware of green waste and recycling…I find it hard to understand that 40% of the population is going for a 96 gallon container (in the second model,” he said .
Mayor Mark Chandler favored the first senior discount model, which allows a separate rate for customers using 35-gallon containers.
“I just don’t think you’ll get the conversion you’re anticipating,” he said. “And I think a lot of people are going to be perfectly happy with that 35 (gallon container), and I don’t know where that increased volume is going to come from that’s going to form a 35 to 96 (gallon container). Are they consuming more ?
Staff said customers are not consuming more, but the senior discount model rates would help them dispose of their waste more appropriately.
“There are a significant number of people who will attempt to fit 50 gallons into a 35 gallon container. And that’s what we’re trying to demotivate by taking it to the next level,” said Director of Public Works Charlie Swimley. “When you buy a gallon of gas, you expect to get a gallon of gas, not a gallon and a half of gas. Many of our customers expect to get a gallon and a half of service for a paycheck of a gallon.
New rates for multi-family homes, duplexes and mobile homes have yet to be determined, but Waste Management said it will begin charging individuals for overfilling and contamination of various containers.
Waste Management spokeswoman Vanessa Barberis said tenants of multi-family units are currently charged $28.59 per month, but landlords must pay overage and contamination fees.
“But we see several large multi-family complexes in Lodi whose tenants are producing two to three times that volume of service on a weekly basis,” she said.
Barberis said there is a property in Lodi that provides its tenants with four 4-meter bins which are collected four times a week at a monthly rate of $5,433.68.
The 81 residents of that particular complex are billed a total of $2,315.79, she said, and the entire property is underbilled by $3,117.89.
“The consensus among landlords, city staff and Waste Management is that we have the flexibility to update and correct multi-family tenant rates to meet the full cost of service,” she said.
With the change, Residents will receive three warnings if the bins in their compound are overfilled or the contents are not properly sorted.
A fourth violation will cause their bills to be automatically upgraded to the equivalent of a 64-gallon or 96-gallon residential load to avoid overage charges, Barberis said.
The council took no action on rates, but the city will issue a public notice of public hearing to discuss the increases by September 2, and a public hearing is tentatively scheduled for October 19.