Stanton officials this week will consider potential trash rate hikes while Laguna Hills officials could hike their payments to a trash consultant by hundreds of thousands of dollars — decisions that could impact local residents and businesses in both cities.
While cities like Santa Ana are in the midst of negotiating their next, decades-long citywide waste management contracts, Stanton is set to modify its existing one this week in a way that will raise residents’ rates but lower those for businesses.
Meanwhile Laguna Hills is set to ramp up the cost of a trash hauling consultant contract to more than half a million dollars — all while opting not to open the contract back up for a bid to see if other companies could offer the city a different price.
On Tuesday, officials there will vote to extend the term of their contract with waste consultant firm EcoNomics and raise the price by $248,000 — from $330,000 to $578,000.
EcoNomics is contracted to help the city meet state-imposed recycling and waste requirements, as well as help the city negotiate with its contracted citywide waste-hauler, CR&R, on how to incorporate the state requirements into CR&R’s services, among other things.
In their report to city council, staff say it isn’t advisable to switch consultants because EcoNomics is “very familiar” with the city’s trash contracts and it would disrupt the progress the consultant has made in drafting new city ordinances to comply with new, state-imposed pollutant waste reduction laws.
“Staff believes that the cost for solid waste and recycling consulting services will increase if a competitive bid process is initiated,” the report says, “especially with the amount of work that is required” to implement new state regulations and the process for the city’s next 10-year citywide trash contract, set to begin in 2024.
Santa Ana officials have already moved into the negotiation phase with four bidding companies vying for the city’s largest and most lucrative contract. Currently, the city’s contracted waste-hauler is Waste Management, Inc. CR&R is among those bidders.
The selection of a new contractor in that city could either lower residents’ trash rates by as much as nearly $5 per month, or raise it by as much as $6 a month.
Santa Ana City Council members this month voted unanimously to move forward with the companies in a contract negotiation phase that’s set to span from March to May, with a final decision by the council expected in June and start of the new trash collection services set for July of next year.
In Stanton, council members on Tuesday will finalize changes they approved earlier this month to the city’s contract with its waste hauler, which is also CR&R.
Residential cart service (the hauling of garbage bins outside homes) will be changed from a two-cart system to a three-cart system, adding a third for recyclables and subsequently an additional $3.40 monthly fee to process the new waste at an additional processing site.
City staff in a report attached to the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting say the rates for recyclable and organics services at local businesses in the city will be set at “75% of the rates charged for bins used for trash.”
“The fees for commercial bin services will be reduced from 10% to 15% depending on the type of service,” the staff report adds. Essentially, trash service fees will decrease for local businesses but increase for residents as a result.
Council members already approved the changes on Feb. 9. On Tuesday, they will finalize the changes with another vote.
CR&R has hauled refuse and recyclables in Stanton for 26 years, according to staff. First negotiated in 1990, the contract was restated in 2012 and amended twice in 2015 and 2016.
Brandon Pho is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member at Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @photherecord.