New Garbage Rates Take Effect July 1

City Council approves modest hikes as part of a three-year contract.


As expected, the Millbrae City Council Tuesday night approved a 6.41 percent rate increase for weekly residential pickup of a 32-gallon garbage container.

The measure passed unanimously, 5-0.

The $1.73 increase - moving rates from $27.00 to $28.73 per month - will take effect July 1. The majority of Millbrae users have the 32 gallon container.

Comparatively, San Bruno residents currently pay $23.78 for the same size garbage can; in Burlingame, the fee is $23.85.

Millbrae is in the third year of a contract with South San Francisco Scavenger Company signed in 2009. In that contract, potential rate changes are part of a declared cycle in the third year, and are based on a rate survey conducted by Scavenger of a preselected group of cities.

Councilmember Wayne Lee briefly stalled movement of the approval, asking for more information from Scavenger before committing his vote, saying he thought "the people need to know."

Scavenger President and CEO Doug Button then stood before the council, laid out the methodology of the company-produced survey, and assured Lee and the council "We know our rates can and should stay lower than other services in the area.” 

The Scavenger survey indicated the average increase for five San Mateo County cities - Burlingame, Daly City, San Bruno, San Mateo and South San Francisco - was 16.5 percent since 2009. The average for all municipalities in the survey, which includes cities throughout the Bay Area, was 11.2 percent. The proposed 6.41 percent increase in Millbrae rates will a little more than half that figure.

Rates in the first two years of the current contract with Scavenger were modest; 1.94 percent in 2010, 1.65 percent in 2011.

Lifeline customers - those using a 20 gallon garbage can - will increase 87 cents per month, from $13.50 to $14.37. Commercial rates will increase between 4 and 8 percent.

Residents comprise 90 percent of the Millbrae customer base for Scavenger.

The increases in fees are estimated to increase the City's franchise fee revenues by approximately $20,000 per year. Those revenues move into the City's General Fund.

Here is a breakdown of the old and new rates:

Old Rate New Rate Lifeline (20 gal) $13.50 $14.87 Residential: 32 gal  $27.00 $28.73 Commercial: 32 gal $25.70 $27.82 Commercial: 2 yd $248.34 $264.04 14 yd Debris Box $527.44 $550.75 Compacted Yard $51.57 $53.84

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Ann Schneider May 11, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Sorry, I am confused, SSF Scavengers does a city comparison to set Millbrae rates. Our rates are several dollars more than San Bruno and Burlingame. Burlingame had a very large increase to cover old labor costs under the county JPA hauler and for the new services that Burlingame receives (more frequent yardwaste collection AND foodwaste collection), and we pay more. Millbrae Patch, telling us that a garbage vote is coming up rather than reporting it after the fact would have allowed more public participation in rate setting and then we could ask why Millbrae is one of the last cities to get food waste collection. Shame on the Council for approving a rate increase without any changes in service. Council members had best not be thinking they are doing the green thing simply by passing a plastic bag ban. Food waste in landfills is by far the more dangerous problem given that it generates methane in landfills and Ox Mtn. will release more fugitive methane now that it has a gas collection system (yes counter intuitive but go to www.sierraclub.org and search for landfill gas to energy. All around a bad night on Tuesday.
Dave Colby May 11, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Hi Ann, Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Actually, I did write a preview article on the anticipated rate increase that was published Tuesday morning on Millbrae Patch before the council meeting that night at 7:00pm so readers would have a chance to attend the meeting and voice concerns. Perhaps you didn't have a chance to see it. Here's a link: http://patch.com/A-tdtd.


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