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City approves 13-year contract with trash company

OCEANSIDE — City Council unanimously approved a 13-year contract with Waste Management on Oct. 20 that gives the city a $1 million signing bonus and $1.7 million in franchise fees.
“We get $23 million plus a signing bonus,” Mayor Jim wood said. “We thought we could get a better deal and we did.”
The agreement also provides recycling revenue sharing, a new fleet of compressed natural gas trucks, three-cart automated residential service, reduced fees for low-volume users, enhanced e-waste, sharps, battery and cell-phone collection and an 18-month rate guarantee. “It’s a very progressive green step forward for Oceanside,” Councilman Chuck Lowery said.
Residents will be able to put all recycled items in one can.
New terms will help reduce waste, increase recycling and guarantee franchise fees will be paid to the city.
“They saw the light,” Nadine Scott, former chair of the Integrated Waste Commission, said. “They had to increase services and still give us a good deal.”
A decision has not been made on how to spend the first annual $1.7 million in franchise fees and additional $1 million signing bonus, but a priority list has been established and an OK was given Oct. 20 to spend $150,000 on beach sand replenishment.
Other wish list items for the funds are San Luis Rey River maintenance, police department and library debt service, the multiple habitat conservation plan and ongoing employee benefit increases.
Kern suggested franchise fees stay in an enterprise fund in the event rates are increased.
“The $23 million comes out of your pockets, it comes from the rate payers,” Councilman Jerry Kern said. “The No. 1 priority should be the rate payers.”
Others saw no need to limit how the funds are used. “There is no reason to restrict the funds, this would be unprecedented,” Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said. “It’s just not appropriate.”
The new contract will begin in January 2011.