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Huntington Beach may end its ‘evergreen’ contract with Republic; it wouldn’t be void until 2037

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Huntington Beach is weighing ending its automatically renewing contract with trash collector Republic Services.
(File Photo)

The Huntington Beach City Council on Monday will again discuss whether it should take steps to end its “evergreen” contract with the city’s longtime trash hauler, Republic Services.

The council initially discussed the matter in March when Mayor Erik Peterson and Mayor Pro Tem Lyn Semeta suggested the city manager notify Republic Services of the city’s intent to terminate the contract’s annual, automatic extension. Officials have said the move could lead to a competitive bidding process that benefits ratepayers.

However, pushback from council members Mike Posey, Barbara Delgleize and Patrick Brenden convinced the council to unanimously agree to postpone the vote until after they hear a presentation from city staff on the pros and cons of ending the contract.

A Republic Services representative on Monday is also expected to report on how the recycling market has changed.

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Huntington Beach’s current contract was signed in 2006 by Rainbow Environmental, which Republic acquired in 2014.

If the council agrees Monday to send a letter that’s been prepared by staff for consideration, it would begin the three-year process to terminate the annual automatic one-year extensions. The contract would be void in 2037, according to the staff report.

During the council meeting in March, Semeta said she didn’t want to end the relationship with Republic but wanted the evergreen clause to change. She said the city has tried negotiating with the trash hauler but hasn’t been able to reach new terms.

Republic General Manager Chris Kentoff has asked the council to reconsider Peterson and Semeta’s proposal and let contract negotiations continue.

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Historic Wintersburg Committee

In other business, the council will consider officially disbanding its city-sponsored ad hoc committee focused on protecting Historic Wintersburg, a property in Huntington Beach with ties to early-1900s Japanese American history.

Historic Wintersburg is at Warner Avenue and Nichols Lane. It consists of six structures, including a Depression-era Japanese Presbyterian mission. The Furuta family sold the property to Republic Services in 2004.

The council created the ad hoc committee in 2012 to collect funds to help preserve and relocate the property on Nichols Lane because the buildings were going to be razed.

The committee formally met until about 2017, at which point the city-sponsored committee became an independent group of citizens that continued to meet to discuss the historic property.

According to the staff report, the council is advised to disband the committee to “avoid any further confusion as to the status of this group.”

Mary Urashima, chairwoman of the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force, said on Facebook the group “fulfilled our original mission” but local, regional and national partners would continue to help preserve the site.

Funding for new homeless shelter

The council will also review an amendment to its 2018-19 action plan to set aside federal funding to help pay for its homeless shelter at 15311 Pipeline Lane.

Under the amendment, $223,607 of Community Development Block Grant funding and $766,905 of revolving loan funds would be allocated for the 75- to 90-bed homeless shelter. A budget transfer of about $125,000 from two of the city’s loan programs would also be allocated for the shelter.

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According to the staff report, the reallocation of these funds will not eliminate programs or projects, nor will it affect the city’s loan programs.

Sidewalk vending program

Huntington Beach’s new sidewalk vending program — which lifts its prohibition on street vendors — may also move closer to fruition on Monday if the council approves the ordinance’s second reading.

Under the new ordinance, street vendors must apply annually for a $268-permit and business license, which must be displayed at all times. Permits will be nontransferable.

Vendors’ hours of operation must be within 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., and they will be prohibited from doing business in residential zones, at the beach and in nearby areas such as Pier Plaza, downtown, parks, City Hall and along Pacific Coast Highway inside city limits. It’s unclear where vendors would be able to do business in compliance with the restrictions.

Monday’s council meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the Civic Center, 2000 Main St.

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