Around Town | September 17, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 17, 2010

Around Town

SMELLS FUNNY ... Palo Alto residents are trashing the city's plan to start charging more for garbage collection. The city's proposed new rates include a 33 percent spike for 20-gallon mini-cans, which the city encourages residents use as part of its lofty waste-reduction goals. The residential rate for these would go from $15 per month to $20. Residents using the standard 32-gallon garbage cart would see a 6 percent increase (from $31 to $32.86). Public Works Department officials and City Council members hope the new rates will help them close a gaping budget hole in the refuse fund, a hole that was exacerbated by the city's environmentally successful but financially draining green efforts. But many residents find it sadly ironic, and in come cases infuriating, that the customers who see the highest fee increase are those who have heeded the city's call to shrink their waste loads. More than 100 customers had sent official protest letters to the city as of the middle of the week. "Excuse Me?!!" wrote customer Nancy Brown, who called the fee-increase proposal "ridiculous." "Please think a little more creatively, and if you still feel the need to charge us more — how about charging the people with the most trash the most money — not those of us creating the least trash." Other residents took umbrage at the proposed $14.42 fee for narrow private streets that the city's trash hauler, GreenWaste, deems "hard to service." Several residents of Ellsworth Place signed protests against the new monthly fee. "If the garbage company needs more revenue to cover the costs of picking up our garbage, then the city should subsidize the costs as they already save money by not maintaining our private streets." The City Council is scheduled to discuss the refuse fee increase at its Sept. 20 meeting.

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