Hide the trash cans, rates going up

The Chico City Council this week voted to grant the two local waste haulers a 6.2 percent increase in their pick-up fees, the first such increase in more than two years. Representatives from NorCal and Waste Management told the council that the increase is greatly needed because of rising fuel costs, wages, insurance and worker benefits.

Although the increase sounds imposing, the reality is that rates will go up 60 cents for 32-gallon containers, 93 cents for 64 gallons and a whopping $1.15 for 96 gallons. The haulers wanted an additional 4.7 percent bump to help cover part of the cost of increased county dump tipping fees, which have gone up 47 percent in the last three years.

The council went only for the smaller jump, and even then Councilmember Larry Wahl balked at that, casting the lone no vote. The council’s Solid Waste Management Committee will be back before the end of the year with methodology for future increases, which will kick in automatically based on such things as the consumer price index.

The council also voted to reword the city ordinance regarding the storage of trash cans when not out on the street waiting for pick-up. The new ordinance reads: "Except when set out for collection, recyclable-yard-debris receptacles shall be stored and maintained to the side or the rear of the structure where the solid waste is generated, and stored out of public view unless it is determined by the Building Official or designee that this is not feasible." In other words wheel those containers off the sidewalk and around the corner of your house, lest your easily offended neighbor call the trash can police and get you fined.