In a move that could result in lower trash bills for residents and businesses, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday moved to slash the county's landfill dumping fee by 23% in an attempt to bring the charges in line with those of surrounding jurisdictions.
The decision comes as several longtime county landfill users--including Orange, Cypress and Stanton--are abandoning the system in favor of dumps in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties that charge lower rates.
Also Tuesday, three supervisors expressed opposition to a plan to sell the landfill system for $300 million to the Sanitation Districts of Orange County.
The purchase proposal, which is also receiving a mixed reaction from cities, will go before the board for a final vote next week.
"I believe the landfills have more value than what the sanitation districts proposal indicates," Supervisor Marian Bergeson said.
Under the rate structure approved Tuesday, landfill dumping fees will drop from $35 a ton to $27.
The minimum charge for trash delivered to landfills in private vehicles will drop from $15 to $12.
Vicki Wilson, director of the county's Integrated Waste Management Department, said the move could reduce monthly household trash bills by as much as $1.30, while businesses could see up to a 5% reduction in their bills.
But it remains unclear when those savings will be passed along to residents or by how much their bills will decline.
Several trash haulers said Tuesday that it will be up to cities that regulate local garbage service to decide whether the lower rates are passed along.
In some cities, reducing trash bills might require making amendments to franchise agreements.