Update : Follow-up on the news : NEWPORT BEACH : City Grants Contracts to Waste Haulers

After months of debate over whether the city should require commercial waste haulers to franchise with the city, 14 companies have been granted nonexclusive contracts.

City officials studied five large California municipalities that use franchise systems to determine how best to monitor trash collection, reduce traffic congestion and increase revenue.

Late last month, the City Council voted to sign an agreement with the commercial waste haulers. Mayor John W. Hedges, who said he would prefer unrestricted competition, cast the lone dissenting vote.

The agreement is the same for each operator: a 10-year contract with the franchise fee increasing 1% annually from 5.5% at first to a cap of 10.5%. The fee is determined by the haulers' income from operating in the city. Another 5.5% will be collected by the city for the city's Environmental Liability Fund.

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