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Laguna Beach residents will pay more for trash collection starting in July

Laguna Beach residents will pay more for trash collection starting in July
Laguna Beach City Council this week hiked trash rates by 2.5% over each of the next three years. The fee hike takes effect in July. (File photo)

Despite some resident complaints, the Laguna Beach City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to hike trash rates over the next three years to cover the cost of inflation on collection and disposal services.

The increases start in July, the beginning of the city’s fiscal year.

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Single households will see an average hike of $5.70 per year, bringing their maximum annual bill to $239.45 in 2021.

Laguna Beach has contracted with Waste Management for trash services since 1993, according to senior public works analyst Liz Vazquez-Avila, and most recently extended that agreement in 2013.

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On Tuesday, some residents urged the City Council to bid out the contract when it expires in 2023.

“I’m used to these increases and increases and increases,” said Judie Mancuso, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council last year. “It’s not about that. It’s about [how] we’ve been doing business with the same vendor for 26 years, and it’s never been put out to bid.”

Resident Chris Moore agreed and brought in an anti-rate hike petition that he said contained about 60 resident names and addresses.

City Manager John Pietig noted that waste contracts are complicated documents that require costly negotiations. He said there was “substantial discussion” when the council last negotiated the Waste Management contract, resulting in “comprehensive services.”

“If you want to refer to trash services as a Cadillac, they really are,” Pietig said of Waste Management, noting the company offers services for bulky items, sharps, shredding and compost.

Laguna Beach’s waste services rates are at the median for Orange County cities, according to a city staff report.

Committee recommendations approved

In other business, the council unanimously approved several recommendations from the Measure LL Oversight Committee — a resident-led group tasked with reviewing how the city spends its hotel tax revenue.

The council agreed to develop additional metrics to analyze the services funded by the transient occupancy tax to identify more areas where the funds could be put to use and to top off a 10% reserve fund.

Nearly 80% of residents approved Measure LL in 2016, raising the tax from 10% to 12%, according to the city website.

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