Orme says garbage deal isn’t about the money! What a liar!

14 Jul
Something Orme forgets to mention is that city of Chico residents will be forced onto garbage service whether they want it or not. The county agreement doesn’t require residents to get garbage service, so they only got complaints from existing customers. Orme won’t admit, the haulers will have to jack rates substantially to include those rainbow services like street sweeping and illegal dumping clean-up. 

I can almost hear Orme sweating right now. He’s trying to answer the critics, including me, and it just doesn’t sound sincere. 

City of Chico advancing slowly toward waste franchise agreement

Chico >> As the implementation date keeps shifting, Chico’s city manager says a waste franchising deal is still in the works as the city negotiates with haulers to create an easier, effective transition.

The city has been working with Recology and Waste Management since August to split Chico’s waste hauling between the two refuse companies. An initial goal was to have the system in place by the start of this year, then March 1, and then July.

This week, Orme said he is no longer focused on a timeline but ensuring the best outcome. He’ll meet with the haulers again this week to negotiate.

“What this shows is the city’s willingness to take its time on implementing such a large change to the public,” he said. “We need to do this right. We don’t need to see how fast we can do it.”

The goal is to negotiate franchises with Waste Management and Recology based on two exclusive residential service zones divided on a split of the current revenue base. The city would set the maximum rates for both commercial and residential services

Negotiations are confidential so Orme could not release any details about what has been discussed so far or points of disagreement. He did say the discussions are a challenge, as the city tries to push for fairness for both the haulers and the taxpayers.

“This is something that has to be done right, if it can be done,” he said. “Both haulers have been good partners through the negotiation process and seem to want to do what is right for the community.”

In the city’s favor is that it will not be the first local government in this area to implement such a change. Beginning March 1, a franchise agreement went into effect for Butte County residents who live outside city limits, giving three waste hauling firms the exclusive right to operate in three specified zones.

Waste Management alone now serves the northwest area of the county, excluding the city of Chico. Only Recology serves the southern portion of the county outside Oroville, Gridley and Biggs. Biggs is served exclusively by Waste Management under a separate contract.

“It makes it a lot easier when you have somebody who was a test case,” Orme told members of the Local Government Committee in May. “Watching the rollout of the county has been very educational.”

At the committee meeting, Butte County Chief Administrative Officer Paul Hahn said the county received more than 500 complaints from citizens in the immediate aftermath of the switch.

“There were a lot of unhappy people and luckily, we were able to fix that within a one- or two-week period,” Hahn said.

The county also realized it could have done several elements differently to ease the transition, and that some components of hauling were not initially addressed in the agreement. A major challenge was Waste Management had no local call center for customers with questions about the service change, which meant calls were directed to Phoenix, Arizona.

“These people had no idea where Butte County was or what our issues were,” Hahn said.

Other issues that arose included a need for a waiver of liability for picking up trash on private roads and addressing inconsistency in additional can agreements, where customers had multiple cans at discounted or free rates that were not accepted by their new haulers. The county worked with the haulers to find solutions.

“Since then, we are down to practically no complaints now,” Hahn said.

The city’s stated goal of switching from a fee agreement to franchises is to recoup the cost the haulers cause through wear-and-tear of city streets, and reduce the hauler truck traffic for both infrastructure and environmental reasons.

“There was a lot of assertion made by individuals that all the city is trying to do is create a revenue strategy,” Orme said. “Our goal is to create accountability by the revenue haulers and make sure no entity is being unfairly taken advantage of — be it the city, the citizens or the haulers.”

Once a tentative agreement has been reached, a draft will be brought before the City Council, which can determine if it desires any changes. Once the council approves the agreement, it could take effect immediately, although shifts in service delivery may stretch over several months.

The council has also expressed interest for the agreement to address items such as street sweeping, leaf collection and other items. Negotiations are taking place within the parameters of the council’s direction, Orme said.

Recology and Waste Management currently operate in the city of Chico through permits, which are approved every five years. The existing permits will expire in June 2016.

Contact reporter Ashley Gebb at 896-7768

2 Responses to “Orme says garbage deal isn’t about the money! What a liar!”

  1. bob July 14, 2015 at 7:07 am #

    Ashley Gebb is horrible. She doesn’t mention that our rates are going to go up and this is just a clever tax increase. Again, the local media is terrible. All they can do is repeat what our rulers tell them. No analysis at all and they don’t even get the other side of the story.

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