By Deb Murphy

The Inyo Board of Supervisors got a preview of a franchise agreement
with the County’s two waste haulers at Tuesday’s meeting. Built into that
agreement is a procedure for annual adjustments in the floor rate that determines
the cost to residents.

Bottom line: assuming the Board will approve the agreement and the
new rates at its April 9 meeting, curb-side service will go from $30.15 a month to
$31.37 as of July 1.

Deputy CAO Rick Benson explained the increase is based on the
garbage component of the Consumer Price Index and is keyed in to the cost of

Historically, the County has set the floor rates for the haulers, Bishop
Waste and Preferred. From that floor, the haulers can set their own rates but for
obvious competitive reasons, that minimum rate ends up as the rate charged by
both haulers.

Benson dissected the increase. The current rate is a composite of hauling costs, the $50 a ton tipping fee paid by the haulers, an annual, average estimate of 2.5 tons of waste per household and the franchise fee that goes to the operation of the land fill. Benson applied the CPI increase of 6.5% to the $16.71 hauling element to end up with the monthly floor rate of $31.37.

The agreement was well vetted. Benson included elements from three other counties’ documents and ran the draft through Rural County Representatives of California, CalRecycle, Inyo’s County Counsel and risk managers. “This is good for the County and for the haulers,” he said. “It provides a stable environment and will be easier for our reporting requirements.”

The franchise agreement also requires the haulers to work with the County to deal with what Benson called the 6,000 lb. gorilla—the state’s requirement to reduce reliance on landfills with a mandate for 75 percent recycling, composting or source reduction by 2020.

Benson admitted Inyo has to do a better job of recycling. “We have specific issues,” he said. “We’re far from where recycling is going on.”


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