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Public Works director recommends raising residential garbage rates by 14 percent

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Various recyclables move through the line on the recycling system at Recology’s Recycle Central on Pier 96 in San Francisco, Calif. Wednesday, November 16, 2016. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)
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San Francisco’s public works director has recommended an average rate increase of more than 14 percent for the collection and disposal of trash and recycling in The City.

Director Mohammed Nuru made the recommendation last Friday after considering an application to raise rates by Recology, The City’s residential refuse contractor, public works officials said.

The increase, which would take effect July 1, would equate to an additional $4.85 per month for a typical single-family home with three 32-gallon bins for trash, composting and recycling, Public Works officials said.

Recology had requested an average rate increase of 16.4 percent in the first year, 4.98 percent in the second year, no increase in the third year and 0.62 percent in the fourth year.

Nuru’s recommendation is to increase rates by an average of 14.42 percent in the first year, 5.46 in the second year, followed by a 0.55 decrease in the third year and a 0.79 increase in the fourth year.

The recommendation comes after a series of community meetings that began in October and consultation with various city agencies to make sure it met city law the requires any residential refuse rate increase to be “just and reasonable.”

“I believe that the costs submitted by Recology and adjusted by The City accurately reflect the cost of providing refuse collection and disposal services to San Francisco ratepayers,” Nuru said in a statement.

Among reasons for the rate increase, Recology cited rising labor costs and the implementation of new programs designed to help San Francisco reach its goal of zero waste.

Some of the new revenue will be used to steam-clean curbside garbage cans and make it more convenient for people to get rid of bulky items such as old furniture, mattresses and broken appliances, public works officials said.

The last residential refuse rate increase in San Francisco was approved in 2013. The recommendation can be appealed to the Refuse Rate Board, a three-person panel made up of the city administrator, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission general manager and the city controller.

The deadline to appeal is 5 p.m. on May 30.

Details of the recommendation and other documents from Recology’s rate increase application can be found at http://www.sfpublicworks.org/refuserates.

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