Danville garbage rates set to rise

West El Pintado townhouses, Rose Street parking lot among other topics

Fees for solid waste and recycling services in Danville are expected to go up next year after the Town Council unanimously endorsed a proposed new rate structure Tuesday night.

The recommended 3.5% rate increase would take effect March 1 if approved by the RecycleSmart Board of Directors, which governs the regional joint powers authority (JPA) the town belongs to for solid waste services.

"We do believe that it would be necessary and appropriate to adjust rates in 2016 because we know that the JPA will be implementing state-mandated high diversion programs very shortly," Town Manager Joe Calabrigo told the council Tuesday night at the Town Meeting Hall.

Even with the 3.5% increase in rates, Calabrigo said, Danville residents would still pay among the lowest rates of the five other jurisdictions served by RecycleSmart -- the rebranded name for the Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority.

The annual revenue requirement under the solid-waste collection franchise agreement will see a 1.1% increase from 2015 to 2016, according to Calabrigo. The 3.5% hike in rates for Danville in 2016 would cover all requirements as well as increase reserves by $273,335, he said.

The reserve is intended to help maintain competitive rates for Danville residents, preserving revenue requirements set forth by the franchise agreement and ensuring long-term rate stability, Calabrigo added.

The projected reserves, with the 2016 rate increase, would be just under $1.5 million or 17% of the operating budget. Though the town prefers a standard of 20% operating reserve for its funds, Calabrigo said he is confident the 17% is sufficient due to the state's fast-approaching high diversion program.

"We did work very hard to get higher reserves so that we would be prepared for the high diversions coming," said Mayor Karen Stepper, who is one of two Danville representatives on the RecycleSmart board. "In an industry in which the demand is causing lower and lower amounts to be picked up, which brings in less revenue, reserves are very critical."

No citizens participated in the council's approximately 15-minute garbage talk Tuesday night.

The council-recommended rates now head to the RecycleSmart board for final consideration in late January. Formed among Danville, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Walnut Creek and Contra Costa County, the JPA is governed by a 12-member board comprised of representatives of the six member communities.

Under the proposed Danville rate structure, the monthly rate increases for single-family weekly pick-up service are:

- 20-gallon service: $23.28 (2015 rate) to $24.09 (2016 rate).

- 32-gallon service: $25.81 to $26.71.

- 64-gallon service: $43.90 to $45.44.

- 96-gallon service: $65.16 to $67.44.

Monthly price for weekly commercial service:

- 1-cubic-yard service: $145.88 to $150.99

- 2-cubic-yard service: $291.73 to $301.94

The 20-cubic-yard debris box service goes up from $690.69 to $714.86 per pick-up.

In other business

* The council approved of moving forward with a general plan amendment study to consider the merits of a developer's request to redesignate a 0.29-acre parcel on West El Pintado as mixed-use land as part of its plan to build a new 38-townhouse project.

The vote was 4-1, with Councilman Newell Arnerich in dissent, saying some nearby residents asked the council to protect them from the rezoning.

Alamo-based Talmont Homes wants permission to build seven townhouse buildings with 38 housing units overall on 1.88 acres at 359 and 375 West El Pintado.

Talmont has requested the town change the 0.29-acre parcel at 359 W. El Pintado to a mixed-use land designation, like the adjoining 1.59-acre site at 375 W. El Pintado. The smaller lot is now designated "residential, single-family, low-density," which allows fewer dwelling units per acre than the mixed-use designation.

Tuesday's discussion occurred early in the town's process of weighing the merits of the project and was aimed at giving council members and the public an opportunity to comment during the early stages, town officials said. No citizens spoke to the council during the discussion.

* The council supported proceeding with designing a new public parking lot on town-owned property toward the northeast part of downtown, but the design contract approval Tuesday came after two council members expressed a desire to re-look at the concept.

Vice Mayor Renee Morgan made a motion to revisit the plans Tuesday with Calabrigo in attendance, since he was not present during a previous discussion when the council endorsed going with a surface-level parking lot at the site.

But Arnerich insisted that because the plans had been discussed "at length" in a public study session and agreed upon then, further discussion was unnecessary.

Councilman Robert Storer said he agreed with Morgan but decided not to second her motion because he didn't think it would have enough votes to pass.

The council went ahead and approved a maximum $157,798 contract with Walnut Creek-based BKF Engineers/Surveyors/Planners to design the proposed 81-spot parking lot at town property at 150 E. Linda Mesa Ave. and 341 and 353 Rose St. The vote was 5-0, with Morgan saying that if the council felt so strongly, she was ultimately supportive.

* The council appointed Stewart Proctor as the Danville representative on the Iron Horse Corridor Management Program Advisory Committee. Proctor, who held the position the past two years, will serve through 2017 in his new term.

Stepper announced that the council had not finished interviews for the appointment of new Heritage Resource Commission members. The process will be revisited next month, she said.

Editor's note: Kalama Hines is a freelance writer for

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9 people like this
Posted by FanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Dec 17, 2015 at 10:42 am

The more we conserve and recycle and reduce packaging, the more we pay in rate increases to maintain the trash empire's status-quo and growth.
Something is WRONG with this system!!!!!!!

Rate increases are a CLUE that something is wrong with this whole system.
The way things are going, we will be paying an enormous amount each month to throw away nothing (or to have all of our trash utilized to create a revenue producing by-product at our expense).

2 people like this
Posted by FanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Dec 17, 2015 at 11:00 am

And how much does all of this secondary governmental administrative infrastructure COST us all?
Secondary governmental infrastructure that is beyond the citizens control or vote.

the RecycleSmart Board of Directors
the regional joint powers authority (JPA)
the town of Danville
The Danville Council
CA state-mandated high diversion programs
the CA Legislature

Government knows no boundaries and will expand until it breaks the economy or society.
When will it all implode? Can this expansion of Government, on the backs of ordinary citizens (and to the burden of many of our children) be sustained forever?
If you think so, you are a blind, but believing, dreamer/idealist/or escapist!

We're going to create this perfect future world (with great trash programs), but a world that will break under the weight of the overwhelming size/cost of the Government that creates it.

It seems like such a rationale and inconsequential decision.
3% increase here, 3% increase there!

2 people like this
Posted by Long term resident
a resident of Danville
on Dec 18, 2015 at 7:13 am

I agree with FanDanville comments. Another factor that should be considered in rates is the cost of doing business. Most of the trucks have converted to compressed natural gas (CNG). There is currently a huge supply glut of natural gas in the U.S. and, as a result, natural gas prices are at almost all time lows of 1.82 USD/mm BTU. If one adjusts for inflation, that is the second lowest level in history and is about 50% less than just a couple of years ago. Therefore, the waste companies have already realized a huge windfall in lower fuel costs. Did the town of Danville or anyone look at their books for justification of a 3.5% increase?? It also isn't necessarily fair to compare to other communities. For example, Pleasanton residents have access to the transfer station where they can drop off any waste at a substantial discount compared to the rest of us.

Lastly, if they raise rates too much, it will encourage people to litter more and make midnight runs to dumpsters in the area.

Like this comment
Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Dec 20, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Since we moved here 9-1/2 years ago, the rate has gone from about $93 to $133, and now they want another five bucks. $93 to $138 is 148%, or an almost half-again increase, which is well ahead of inflation.
More importantly, they just raised the rates within the last year. Why does our council feel the need to keep dictating these increases?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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