Council Approves Trash Fee Increases

Residents and businesses that use waste bins can expect hefty increases in future trash bills, unless they become better recyclers, city officials said Friday.

The City Council voted Wednesday to increase trash fees for commercial properties 15% to 30% and for multifamily homes such as condominiums and apartments by up to 10%.

The increases, which take effect Oct. 9, are designed to help the city comply with a state law that requires cities to divert 50% of their waste from landfills by 2000. City officials are trying to meet the requirement by promoting recycling.

Those who use fewer trash bins and more white recycle bins will have an easier time offsetting the rate increases because the the recycle bins will be provided free, said Robert Westdyke, Camarillo's director of public services.

Having trash and recyclables picked up more frequently will also reduce expenses, Westdyke added. Consequently, he said, it will be easier for businesses that consume large amounts of waste to offset their 30% rate increase.

The same savings, however, would be difficult for small businesses, which face a 15% rate increase, to achieve because they typically do not generate the same levels of recyclable materials as their larger counterparts. Meanwhile, a rate hike of up to 10% for condominium and apartment dwellers has triggered mixed reactions.

Bob Has, a board member for Ponderosa Creek Home Owners Assn., said trash fees are already the fourth largest item in the association's budget and fees since 1991 have increased nearly 48%. He and his neighbors, he added, are already recycling at capacity.

"We are doing at this point as much as we can do to economize," Has said

But others are anticipating a savings. Already paying more than $600 a month in trash fees, Randy Culverson, a member of the Adolfo Glen Home Owners Assn., said he expects to see a drop in his group's fees.

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