Trash Service Changes Coming Early 2021
On Feb. 16, 2021, the City's agreement with Athens Services was amended to comply with State laws. Changes to your trash service will not take effect immediately. Over the next few months, the City and Athens Services will be reaching out to inform you of the changes to your service. For more information on these changes, please reference the FAQ below.
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1. Why make changes to trash services, and why now?
As stated in the informational postcard and social media post sent out at the end of December/early January, State Law now requires that trash be collected in three ways: regular garbage, recyclables, and green/organic food waste. To date, the sorting of recyclables and trash has been done by Athens through their facilities. On August 18, 2020, the City was sanctioned by California’s regulatory agency CalRecycle for not already having a separate collection system. This sanction means the State can impose fines of up to $10,000 per day if a program is not implemented by January 1, 2022. It has been requested that the State and CalRecycle hold off on implementing this mandate, but the State has refused to change or delay this mandate. Hence, to avoid crippling fines, the City and our refuse disposal provider, Athens Services, developed a method and plan that would satisfy State requirements economically and efficiently.
2. What are the changes?
Simply put, the most feasible to comply with the State requirement collecting the three forms of waste is to move to an automated multi-bin system with pick-up once a week for residential customers. Bulky item pick up service will continue to remain at its current once a week schedule. All single-family residential customers will receive standard 64-gallon containers (regular waste, recyclables, and green/organic food waste) without any charge -- the containers are twice the size of the typical trash container. Single-family residents may choose to have a 96-gallon container or a 32-gallon container for a slightly different monthly service rate. Seniors living in single-family residences that use a 32-gallon container who currently qualify for a reduced rate through a utility provider (Edison, SoCal Gas) would receive an additional discounted rate. Commercial customers and most multi-family housing complexes that use large bin services will also be receiving new containers in most cases. Athens will be working with each customer to develop the most economical and viable container to comply with State law. In addition, Athens and the City will work together to develop a new pick-up schedule. We will do our best to maintain (except for going to once a week services) the same service day you have now.
3. When are the changes happening?
It will take several months for Athens to purchase the necessary trucks and containers for this new automated system. At this time, you may want to see the difference between the bin sizes and decide which size bin may be more suitable for your residence and business. For reference, the standard self-bought trash containers residents usually use are typically 32-gallons. For the coming weeks and months, Athens will provide you with a detailed schedule as to when you can expect this change in your area and will be available to discuss any issues concerning services to your property.
4. What do I need to do?
Over the coming months, Athens and the City will provide information on when your area is converting to the automated multiple-bin system and will need to know if you wish to adjust your service and receive 96-gallon containers or 32-gallon containers instead of the standard 64-gallon containers. Additionally, Athens will schedule pick up of your existing trash cans if you wish to dispose of them.
5. What will be the cost of this change?
As you may assume, implementing a new system with new requirements is very costly. Residential and commercial customer service rates have remained the same with no service rate increases since July 1, 2018. Every year prior, the service rate has increased by the Customer Price Index (CPI) and the increased cost of disposal. Hence, because of the costs of these required changes, adjustments in service rates are needed. Currently, residential customers pay an average service rate of $35.90 per month. Effective as of January 1, 2021, all residential customers will see a $1.31 per month (or 3.65%) increase in the monthly service charge. On July 1, 2021, rates will be adjusted annually according to CPI and a 1% capital replacement charge. Effective as of January 1, 2021, all Commercial bin users will see a service rate increase of 20.2%, and multi-housing unit complexes will see a service rate increase of 26.5%.
Once Athens transitions to multi-bin automated service, residents will have the choice of the following:
1) Choose to have the standard 64-gallon container with no additional monthly service charge
2) Upgrade to a 96-gallon container for an additional $5.02 more per month service charge
3) Downgrade to a 32-gallon container for (- $2.41) less per month service charge Seniors living in single-family residences who qualify under any State or local program for utility assistance will be eligible for a decrease of (- $5.76) less per month service charge if using a 32-gallon container.