Garbage and water rates in Redwood City could jump as much as 9 percent this year to cover increased operating costs and capital improvements.
City Finance Director Brian Ponty said the hike in garbage rates will cover an unexpected increase in cost as well as help pay for improvements to the Shoreway Environment Center, which is San Mateo County’s recycling center.
“The increases depend on the projected cost from Allied Waste,” Ponty said. “It varies every year.”
Redwood City residents currently pay $19.20 per month for garbage service, Ponty said. Rates will increase to $20.96, a 9.15 percent hike, if approved by the City Council on Monday.
Ponty said Redwood City has nearly 17,000 customers. He said if roughly 8,500 customers object to the proposed changes, it will not go through.
Allied Waste is increasing garbage rates in the 10 Peninsula cities it serves, including Redwood City, San Mateo, Daly City, South San Francisco and Burlingame, according to a form letter on the company Web site.
The increases will “help offset Allied Waste’s increasing labor costs, fuel costs and operating expenses. Also, these rate increases are needed to help pay for traffic and facility improvements as part of a long range facility master plan now under construction,” the letter states.
Cities are adopting the increases at different times, though. Allied’s overall increase went into effect Jan. 1. Ponty said if approved, new rates would become effective in Redwood City on Wednesday.
For the first time in more than 20 years, residents will also have the choice to have their cans picked up from their side yards for an $18 surcharge. Ponty said roughly 7 percent of customers have that service for no additional cost.
Water will also see an increase this year because of the upgrades to the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.
The San Francisco Public Utilities District is increasing all customer costs to help pay for the $4.6 billion project. Redwood City has decided to incrementally increase the rates to its users through 2015.
Department of Public Works Superintendent Justin Ezell said Redwood City residents could see rates jump between 8 and 12 percent.
The average single-family home pays $35 per month for water. Ezell said that could increase by as much as $3 per month. Rates would increase in July, if approved.
“We have to pay for this billion-dollar project somehow,” Ezell said, referring to the Hetch Hetchy improvements. “In Redwood City, we’re trying to increase costs slowly so there isn’t a big burden on customers.”
Rates vary per city based on the amount of water purchased from San Francisco. Redwood City receives 10.5 million gallons per day, Ezell said.
Two Redwood City utilities are raising monthly rates.
*Rates are averages
Source: Redwood City