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Waste Management rates are rising for Oceanside customers. File photo/The Coast News
Waste Management rates are rising for Oceanside customers. File photo/The Coast News
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Oceanside approves waste removal rate increase

Garbage collection rates are once again rising for residents and businesses in Oceanside.

On May 3, the City Council approved Waste Management’s annual request for a user rate increase based on the rising consumer price index.

Under its contract with the city, Waste Management, a private trash hauling company, can request a higher increase based on either the average national index increase or 75% of the San Diego increase average. Waste Management requested an 8% percent increase based on the national average.

Waste Management also requested an “extraordinary rate adjustment” of 1.59% for residential and 2.07% for commercial solid waste rates, only to be applied to disposal and landfill service fees. According to the solid waste contractor, the extra rate increase request is due to an excessive increase in disposal tipping fees by a third party based on fuel, transportation and operating cost increases.

For now, the extraordinary rate adjustments will only be applied between July 1 and December 31 of this year. In total, residential customers will see a $11.40 increase and commercial customers will see a $70.50 increase over the next six months.

Residents with the most basic service, which includes the once-a-week pickup of a 35-gallon trash can, will increase from the current monthly $21.33 rate to $23.23 under the annual increase and the extraordinary rate adjustment.

Under the most basic commercial service, which includes weekly two or 3-yard bin pickup service, the current $124.99 rate will increase to $136.74 under both the annual increase and extraordinary rate adjustment.

The new rate adjustments are unrelated to the city’s new franchise agreement with Waste Management, which was approved in April 2022. Under that agreement, rates for trash, recycling and organic material pickup and processing are expected to increase by 40% for residential customers and about 38% for commercial customers beginning in 2024.

Jimmy Knott, a La Salina Mobile Village representative, pleaded with the City Council to have compassion and find a way to alleviate the rate increase on seniors with fixed incomes. He noted that many seniors only receive between $600 and $800 monthly from social security.

“Can you live on that amount? Can you pay rent? Can you pay your utilities? Can you even buy clothes on that? I doubt you can,” Knott said. “I want to see some compassion, I want to see some action in helping our most needy seniors.”

Environmental Officer Colleen Foster said the city could work with seniors and other residents to ensure they receive the cheaper, smaller service options rather than the larger, more expensive options they may not necessarily need.

City Attorney John Mullen said staff could consider subsidizing solid waste rates, noting that the money would likely come from the general fund.

Councilmember Eric Joyce said the city needs to consider ways to support its growing population of seniors going forward.

“The fastest growing number of individuals experiencing homelessness is the senior population,” Joyce said. “If we don’t find a way to look ahead and plan for that, we’re going to be contributing to that problem.”

Staff also reminded both council and the public that solid waste billing would go directly through Waste Management starting this month. The city previously billed customers for solid waste and water and wastewater management services.