Council to discuss garbage fees and ACE station location

Turlock City Council is expected to discuss how to ease the financial burden on residents over the garbage fee increase approved in February due to new state mandates.

New state-mandated requirements ask municipalities to help reduce California’s organic waste by 75% over the next three years, and the resulting changes have contributed to Turlock Scavenger’s increased fees for the first time in six years.

Following an independent study by R3 Consulting Group, Turlock Scavenger found that compliance with new Senate Bill 1383, coupled with inflated costs and lost revenue, would force the garbage collection service of the city to raise its fees in order to stay afloat. Turlock Scavenger fees have remained stable since 2015 and remained well below comparable community rates during that time, said R3CG’s Garth Schultz.

The SB 1383 is intended to divert organic materials from the waste stream, collect them and direct them to more beneficial uses, such as composting. There are a variety of new requirements under the new mandate for residences and businesses, and the City will provide education and awareness until the sanctions take effect in 2024.

The state’s unfunded mandate impacts the solid waste industry, forcing Turlock Scavenger to absorb increases in operational costs to comply with each new requirement. The increases were approved in a 3-2 vote on February 8, with council members Nicole Larson and Andrew Nosrati dissenting, with the caveat that new city manager Reagan Wilson is considering cutting Turlock’s franchise fee Scavenger so ratepayers won’t see as much of an increase in their bill by the time the new rates go into effect on April 1.

After discussion with the consultant, City staff will present Council with two options to reduce the refusal deductible fee – from 15% to 10% or 5% to offset the impact of the approved rate increase.

With a reduction in franchise fees, there will be a tax impact in current and future years. In fiscal year 2021-22, the City has set aside $1,684,500 in the general fund for garbage franchise fees. As the rate increase does not take effect until April 1, there will be minimal impact on this year’s budget according to City staff, however, future years will reflect a surplus or shortfall. earn according to the chosen franchise fee rate.

Using the current fiscal year 2021-2022 budget as a baseline, the City would see an estimated revenue shortfall for fiscal year 2022-23 of $343,412 if a 5% franchise fee is used. Considering that a surplus of $66,351 is estimated with a 10% franchise fee.

The cumulative shortfall estimated at 5% over five years is $991,393. At 10%, the estimated five-year cumulative surplus is $883,030.

Also on Tuesday, Council is expected to consider recommending a change of location for a proposed Altamont Corridor Express station to be built in Turlock over the next three years.

Turlock Station—part of the ACE train expansion to Merced—was originally planned to be located on Golden State Boulevard near the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds and across from the Turlock Transit Center.

Council will consider asking the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority to change the location to downtown Turlock near Marshall Street, South Golden State Boulevard and 1st Street.

According to the staff report on the agenda item, a downtown positioned ACE station would serve the town center and surrounding businesses, public places and allow for the redevelopment of Turlock town centre.

The Turlock City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Yosemite Room at City Hall, 156 S. Broadway. Council meetings are open to the public.

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James H. Wright