PITTSBURG -- Residential rates for garbage and recycling pickup will increase 15 percent in October under an increase approved by the City Council.
Pittsburg Disposal Service contends the increases are needed to keep up with rising costs for labor, state mandates and disposal and regulatory fees. Low-income seniors will also see an increase in rates, but not as much as regular customers.
The measure was passed by a 4-to-0 after council member Sal Evola recused himself as a result of acting as a consultant for Pittsburg Disposal. No one at the meeting spoke out against the rate hike during a public hearing.
The last time rates went up was in 2009, when they went up 23 percent when recycling and operational services were greatly expanded.
"This is a little too much," Pittsburg resident Danny Lopez said on Tuesday after reading about the rate hike. He did not know the issue was before the council Monday night.
Under the action taken, monthly rates for weekly pickup of a 32-gallon solid-waste container will rise from $27 to $31.05, or 15 percent, in October, a rate that also includes removal of recycling and green yard waste in separate containers. Rates would then rise another 5 percent in October 2013, followed by another 5 percent increase in October 2014. Rates for larger containers will also rise accordingly under the approved rate plan.
Assistant City Manager Garrett Evans told council members that the new rates are
"We are by and large the same as Concord, Antioch and East County unincorporated areas," he said.
Low-income seniors -- those who are 62 years or older and whose yearly household income is less than $12,000, excluding income from Social Security payments -- would see their monthly rates rise 4.5 percent to $23 in October, followed by another 2.2 percent hike in October 2013, and another 2.1 percent increase in October 2014.
"The seniors rate is not available (solely) on the basis of age," said Vice Mayor Nancy Parent.
Staff will take up a suggestion by Parent to increase the $12,000 income cap for the senior discount by the increased percentage of the rate hikes that were approved for them.
"If you are asking people to pay more, you need to raise the (cap) to qualify for the special rate," she said.
Reach Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.