The El Dorado Hills Community Services District’s public hearing to discuss its trash and recycling pickup contract with El Dorado Disposal Services resulted in a 13-year contract extension, which will likely bring El Dorado Hills’ contract into alignment with similar contracts in Cameron Park and Placerville.
Alignment with the two other West Slope communities that enforce residential trash collection could provide opportunities for collaboration and economies of scale in complying with California’s ever-changing solid waste disposal regulations, Waste Connections Chairman and CEO Ron Mittelstaedt and CSD Director Tony Rogozinski explained after the Nov. 29 meeting.
Few residents attended the hearing.
The motion by Director Guy Gertch called for the 13-year contract extension with El Dorado Disposal, Waste Connections’ local arm, to 2028, with a few important caveats. If Cameron Park and Placerville, whose contracts currently go though 2023, don’t opt for five-year extensions the El Dorado Hills contract will expire three years earlier.
The CSD board sent a couple other important contract details back to subcommittee, with optimism from both the board and El Dorado Disposal representatives that they would be negotiated to mutual satisfaction.
The new contract allows the rate to fluctuate automatically with a regionally based Consumer Price Index if El Dorado Disposal meets certain performance criterion. The current contract requires El Dorado Disposal to request rate increases from the board publicly every two years.
The current fuel surcharge add-on fee will roll into the new base rate, then be discontinued. With future rates controlled by the newly automated CPI, Mittelstaedt explained, the surcharge is no longer needed. “The CPI covers our cost fluctuations good enough.”
Board President Noelle Mattock dug into the new contract and asked for tighter performance measurements. She also asked for a 5 percent cap on annual rate increases. Mittelstaedt and Sue Farris, his local representative, readily agreed on both counts, in general. The contract won’t be finalized until the specifics are ironed out.
Importantly, however, the verbal agreement gives Mittelstaedt the assurance to implement the RecycleBank program, which rewards residents for the recycling most do voluntarily today. The contract extension will result in a slight reduction in the base rate, which for most residents will be offset by a $1.49 monthly fee, $1 for seniors, to participate in RecycleBank.
El Dorado Hills residents will be automatically enrolled in the RecycleBank program, with an “opt out” provision. The anticipated broad participation allows El Dorado Disposal to be much more aggressive with the monthly fee in El Dorado Hills than Cameron Park and Placerville, which will require residents to “opt in” to the RecycleBank program at $3.49 per month (less for seniors).
Including the optional Recyclebank charge, the new trash pickup fee in El Dorado Hills will be between $1.19 and $1.30 higher, depending on service.
RecycleBank could earn residents $15 to $20 per month in savings, and should also increase diversion of recyclables from the landfills, according to Farris.
Including the RecycleBank fee, the monthly charge for a 64 gallon can comes to $24.97 in El Dorado Hills. By comparison, the same service, including RecycleBank, will cost $26.14 in Cameron Park and $30.36 in Placerville.
Folsom-based Waste Connections is a billion dollar company that serves more than 2 million customers in 26 states. Mittelstaedt is an El Dorado Hills resident, active philanthropist and local youth sports activist.
But none of that had anything to do with the decision, said board president Mattock after the hearing. “This was just about getting the best deal for El Dorado Hills’ residents,” she said.
Proposed new trash fees, including enrollment in RecycleBank
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