County approves trash rate increase

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

It is going to get pricier to get rid of trash in Tuolumne County.

The county Board of Supervisors voted to increase trash removal rates in all four franchise areas of the county by 2.64 percent.

The increase, which takes effect in January, is due to inflation, measured by the Consumer Price Index, and the county is contractually obliged to grant it to its contractors Cal Sierra Disposal, Burns Refuse Service and Moore Bros. Scavenger.

The board also voted to bump rates for the Cal Sierra transfer station in East Sonora between 2.11 and 10 percent, and between $2.50 and $4 at the Pinecrest transfer station depending on the load and items dumped.

The county's contracts with its solid waste handlers allow the companies to receive annual rate increases based on inflation as long as they take in no more than 10 percent annual profits on average.

"We're obligated by contract to do the CPI increase," Supervisor John Gray said.

The board, however, held off a decision to possibly increase yard waste rates at the Cal Sierra Earth Resources Facility, where individuals and companies bring grass clippings, leaves and other green waste.

The proposal called for a 1.74 percent increase in tipping fees at the facility, as well as an increase in individual disposal fees and bumping the minimum charge from half a cubic yard to a full cubic yard.

Dick Pland, the board chairman, asked Cal Sierra representative Tom Teach if the company would be willing to forego the green waste increase. Pland said the revenue stream accounts for only 5 percent of the company's local revenue, saying it's "not a big deal" for the company.

Teach said they haven't increased the rate for yard waste disposal since the 1990s.

"It's gotten more and more expensive in California," to process the material, he said.

The Union Democrat
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