BY JANE NORTHROP, PACIFICA TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
City Council unanimously approved a 4.99 percent rate increase for Recology during its meeting Monday evening. If a majority of the rate payers officially protested the increase, it would not have happened. However, the city received only 185 protests, not nearly enough to make up a majority. A majority would have required 5,841 protests. The increased rate will be in effect from Jan. 1 to the end of 2012. For those who use the smallest 20-gallon can, the rate will increase from $21.88 per month to $22.95 a month. Pete Pereira complained to City Council Recology has eliminated the senior rate he enjoyed under Coastside Scavenger's operation. "My rate has doubled since Recology took over," he said. Ken Miles also objected to the higher rate and said Pacificans pay the highest rate in the county. "We are being taxed to death," he said. The city's consultant, Rick Simonsen of HF&H, said some other communities are experiencing rate increases, but not all. "There are lots of variables when determining fees," he said. Chamber of Commerce CEO Courtney Conlin supported the business and the rate increase. City Councilmember Jim Vreeland said he hated approving a rate increase, but he and the other council members determined it was necessary to do so to fulfill the terms of the franchise agreement with Recology.
BY LIONEL EMDE, PACIFICA RIPTIDE CORRESPONDENT
Pacifica City Council heard the latest request for another price increase in Pacifica’s sky-high garbage collection rates at a public meeting on October 10 and approved it unanimously at its November 28, 2011 meeting (see Jane Northrop's Pacifica Tribune front-page news story above). The current request for a 5 percent increase in January 2012 follows an 8 percent increase in July 2011 and a 5 percent increase in August 2010. At the time Recology was awarded the no-bid contract in February 2010, Pacificans already were paying the highest garbage collection rates in San Mateo County. Residents were able to submit written protest letters in accordance with the settlement reached in Emde v. City of Pacifica. Letters were counted and tabulated as part of the public hearing on November 28 at City Council chambers. Recology also services Montara, Moss Beach, and El Granada. Those communities pay half as much for garbage collection as Pacifica. Those communities are served by the same company running the same trucks out of the same location that serves Pacifica. The question of why rates are so much lower there for similar service never has been answered.