Merced City Council to discuss refuse rates and land sales at meeting

07/20/2014 2:05 PM

07/20/2014 2:14 PM

Merced City Council will look at potential rate increases to pick up solid waste, and will also hear proposals from land seekers during Monday’s meeting.

The council will meet for a refuse rate study session at 5:30 p.m. before the regular 7 p.m. meeting, both to take place at the Merced Civic Center, 678 W. 18th St.

During the study session, the council will be asked to set a future public hearing on rate changes, where members of the public can express their opinions on the potential increase.

The refuse rate study will offer up a couple of options for Merced City Council to consider. Each option for homeowners calls for increases between 3 percent and 4 percent each of the next five years.

The refuse charges for homeowners would go from $31.22 to $37.08 by 2019 in the more expensive scenario, according to records.

Business owners would pay an increased fee of 1 percent each of the next five years in either option. Businesses pay between $61.25 and $848.53, depending on the size of their receptacle and the number of times it’s dumped in a week. The rates would rise to between $61.86 and $857.02 under the proposed rates.

The money residents and business owners pay for their garbage removal includes refuse, recycling and green waste collection. The rates also cover street sweeping, spring cleanup programs and the maintenance of street trees.

According to city records, the current rates are too low and will drain the city’s reserve cash. The records point to cost increases as the culprit – a 20 percent increase in disposal costs for residential trash, 42 percent increase in the cost of fuel and an average 32 percent increase in the cost of a collection truck.

As an incentive to promote recycling from businesses, city staff also recommends the city establish new commercial recycling container rates at 15 percent cheaper than commercial rates for the same-sized garbage container.

During the regular meeting, council plans to hear from buyers seeking to purchase nearly 2 acres of land at G and W. 23rd streets. The city owns the land, which it bought for about $2.39 million in 2010 while preparing for the G Street underpass.

The city received two proposals for development projects and purchase of the land parcel by the May 5 deadline, records show. One proposal came from Pro Lube Oil Change Centers and one from Jim Abbate, whose company, Alia Corp., operates McDonald’s restaurant franchises throughout Merced County

City Council meetings are streamed live on the Internet. A link is at Comcast’s Government Channel 96 will broadcast the meeting live.

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