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Fresno Trash Rate Protest Fails. Decision Rests with Council Next Week.
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 4 weeks ago on
June 21, 2024

The Fresno City Council will decide whether to raise trash rates on Thursday, June 27. (GV Wire/David Taub)

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Not enough Fresno trash ratepayers turned in protest cards to thwart a proposed 114% rate hike over five years.

The Fresno City Council will take one more week to decide whether to reject or approve the increases.

After hearing the pros and cons for nearly two hours, the council is expected to take a final vote on June 27.

Thursday’s hearing included a presentation from the city, public comment, and a tally of protest cards received and turned in that day.

The city received 50,315 valid cards before Thursday, and 47 were turned in at city council chambers. At least 58,480 protest cards were needed to automatically cancel the proposed rate. All parcel owners with Fresno trash service received mailed notices, including a card to return.

Councilmembers asking questions of Public Utilities director Brock Buche did not quite tip their hand on how they would vote. Councilmembers Garry Bredefeld and Luis Chavez previously told GV Wire they will opposes the increases.

Rates for the 64-gallon gray cart would climb from $19.20 to $41.21 over five years. A larger 96-gallon cart would see a 78% raise in five years. The city has not raised garbage rates since 2009.

“A true-up for the cost of serve,” Buche told the council.

Buche said that without the approved increase, either the general fund would have to cover the shortfalls, or the city would have to cut back on services — such as free dump days and shredding events. The law requires trash pickup every week. Recycling and green waste pickup could be moved to every other week. Reducing employee hours or layoffs would be a last resort, City Manager Georgeanne White said.

The department has not purchased new vehicles in two years, Buche said. And, if city residents don’t comply with state recycling mandates, costs could go up again in a few years. City Council President Annalisa Perea balked at the idea of being asked for another rate increase.

Councilman Mike Karbassi said a decision comes down to cutting things like public safety or endure a “slight increase” in garbage rates.

Solid Waste An Enterprise Fund

Solid waste is considered an enterprise fund by the city, meaning its revenue and spending is separate from the general fund. In essence, it is a self-sustaining division. While general funds could be spent on enterprise funds, the reverse is not true, Mayor Jerry Dyer said.

Councilmember Nelson Esparza described solid waste as “government sort of operating a nonprofit business model.”

The mayor said the $483 million general fund “has to be supporting parks, police, fire, public works and a number of other items. It makes it very challenging to be able to stretch that those general fund dollars.”

Costs have gone up in that time frame, including PG&E, fuel, new trucks, and labor contracts.

“When you go 15 years without a rate increase, what ends up happening is you have to increase your rates more dramatically,” Dyer said. “It’s important to know we’re doing this over a five-year period. So we’re trying to make it as painless as possible, smoothing out those rates over the next five years.”

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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