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Glendale to slash number of trash-hauling companies operating in the city

Newport Beach city trash collectors
Glendale will be transitioning to a trash-collection franchise system this July. According to city officials, the current open-permit system leaves the city with little regulatory control, in addition to causing congestion and pollution. However, some Glendale council members voiced concerns about reducing competition.
(File Photo)

Glendale has moved another step forward this week with a plan to overhaul the way trash is collected from apartments and commercial properties in the city.

In July 2013, Glendale officials announced they would be converting the current open market to a more controlled system of exclusive franchises with the intention of implementing a more streamlined and sustainable approach.

On Tuesday, Glendale City Council members voted to go forward with a vetting process for eight trash-hauling companies interested in securing a lucrative 10-year contract to service one of four geographic zones in the city. Eventually, four will be selected — one for each zone.

“We’re trying to do this so we can provide a more consistent and uniform standard,” said Yazdan Emrani, Glendale’s director of public works, during a City Council meeting on Tuesday.

“We really don’t have any control over the regulatory side of things,” Emrani added.

Currently, 33 trash haulers have permits to provide service to any business within the city, according to a city report.

According to Emrani, multiple garbage trucks sometimes simultaneously service the same area, causing congestion and increasing pollution as well as wear and tear on the streets.

The plan does not include single-family homes and apartment buildings with four units or less. Those properties will continue to be served by Glendale city staff.

During the meeting, there was discussion about whether the city’s plan to have one hauling company service one geographic zone was the best way to move forward.

Concerns centered around whether reducing competition would stymie the quality of service and drive up prices.

Companies are projected to earn revenue ranging from $1.4 million to $2.8 million annually, depending on the zone, according to city documents. The 10-year contracts have two possible five-year extensions.

Councilman Vrej Agajanian suggested they consider contracting with two companies per zone to increase competition, calling the current direction “dangerous.”

“If the business owner, for some reason, is not satisfied with the work of that [one] trash hauler, then that person has no choice,” Agajanian said.

Councilman Frank Quintero, who supported Agajanian’s proposal, said he would prefer to see competition throughout all of Glendale, rather than breaking the city into zones.

Neither idea gained enough support to supplant the current plan that’s been in the works for nearly seven years.

“My thought is we’ve come too far to turn back,” Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian said.

Prices will not be set by the city, but the city can impose a price ceiling and determine the rate of price increases per year, according to city documents.

In 2016, Los Angeles converted to a trash-hauling franchise system, similarly citing a need to reduce pollution and control labor practices.

The companies in the running for contracts are Athens Services, NASA Services, Inc., Republic Services, Southland Disposal Co., Waste Management of California Inc. and Waste Resource Technologies Inc., Universal Waste and American Reclamation.

Universal Waste and American Reclamation had been eliminated from the pool by a consultant for reportedly not meeting the requirements of a technical review, but were added back into consideration through a unanimous vote by City Council.

Commercial Waste Services was eliminated during an earlier vetting process and was not added back into the pool.

Representatives from all three initially excluded companies expressed dismay and disagreement with the decision during the City Council meeting, and asked for reconsideration.

Selected contractors are expected to begin service this July.

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