The City Council has approved an across-the-board garbage rate "adjustment" of 3.87% starting Jan. 1 to meet rising costs being incurred by Pleasanton Garbage Services (PGS), the company that has an exclusive refuse collection and recycling franchise
Crowe Horwath LLP, the city's consultant and financial watchdog over PGS charges, found that the Labor Composite Index increased by 3.19% based on the combination of union wage rates, pension plan costs and health and welfare costs.
It also determined that based on estimates of usage and costs, landfill disposal costs will increase by 12.8% by year's end.
All other costs for PGS, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) are expected to show an increase of 2.29% in the Bay Area, including Pleasanton.
As an outcome of these reviews, Pleasanton council members, city staff and representatives of Pleasanton Garbage and Crowe Horwath agreed to a 9.77% increase for residents with 96-gallon can service, but with no increase for those using 35-gallon cans. Crowe found that customers with 35-gallon service are already paying 11% above the average for other Alameda County cities, so recommended the larger increase with those using larger cans.
Still the increase will be modest, rising from $41.43 a month to $43.03, and from $35.22 to $36.58 for seniors. Dublin residents pay $58.98 a month for 96-gallon service; Livermore pays $90.41, and those in Berkeley pay $114.03, the highest rate in the county.
The rates quoted are monthly. Pleasanton Garbage bills on a quarterly cycle.
PGS was awarded an exclusive franchise to serve Pleasanton in 1989 with a contract that runs through June 2019. The City Council has the authority to set service rates based on an analysis, which Crowe Horwath provides, that any proposed increase is accurate, consistent with the terms of the franchise and appropriate for the services provided.
PGS reported that the use of the smaller 35-gallon service has increased significantly with about half of all its customers now subscribed to that size and service. With the monthly rate of $33.80 for 35-gallon service, PGS sees a migration to the smaller cans as its customers increase their recycling efforts and reduce household waste.
This migration has reduced revenue for PGS, which was another factor in Crowe Horwath's recommendation for an overall rate increase for 2016.