Millbrae scavenger employees have not been paying service fees

As Millbrae decides in two weeks whether to consider dropping South San Francisco Scavenger as its garbage contractor, city officials confirmed that company employees living in the city — including its president — have not been paying garbage fees to the city.

Doug Button, a Millbrae resident, has not been paying for garbage services since he became Scavenger’s president prior to 1998, said Public Works Director Ron Popp. Most of those garbage fees go to Scavenger but 15 percent of it goes to thecity, including 10 percent to its general fund.

At least one other former employee, who declined to comment for this story, had also not been paying, Popp said. Popp said that all Scavenger employees who live in Millbrae likely have not been paying their dues to the city.

“It was a company benefit it provided that … was unbeknownst to us and has since been corrected,” Popp said.

Button did not return multiple messages requesting comment. The number of Scavenger employees living in Millbrae was not available.

“I don’t think the number is going to be huge, but I’d like to know,” Popp said.

All Millbrae residents are required under city code to have and pay for garbage services, Popp said. If they do not, the city can issue a warning and then fines in the hundreds of dollars.

Garbage fees have steadily increased over the last few decades, but the current figure residents pay for a 32-gallon can is $22 per month. That amounts to $39.60 the city receives annually from an average resident.

The money itself may no be significant but the information was released at an interesting time in Scavenger’s and the city’s relationship, which dates back to before Millbrae’s incorporation. Millbrae has never had another garbage contractor, but its City Council will decide today whether to put the contract out to bid to allow other companies to make offers.

The council was alerted to the information recently. Mayor Gina Papan said the news of employees not paying would not affect her decision.

Public Works staff will now begin matching the city’s utility billing service addresses with Scavenger’s billing addresses once per year to make sure this does not happen again, Popp said.

“I intend to find out everyone who has garbage service” but is not paying for it, Popp said. The city is yet to discuss collecting retroactive fees, he said.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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