Fresno lawmakers to vote on garbage rate increases next week

Rejecting the rate increases could result in a drop in services that the city currently provides.

The Fresno City Council will decide on possibly raising garbage rates on June 27. 

This comes after not enough people submitted protest cards to the city on Thursday to automatically shut down any rate hike proposals. 


The big picture: Fresno held a Proposition 218 hearing on Thursday and received 50,315 protest cards, falling short of the 58,480 cards that were needed to halt the hikes. 

  • Public Utilities director Brock Buche presented the proposal to the city council at the hearing. 
  • Rates for a standard 96-gallon trash cart would increase by $25.37 per month to $45.24 by 2029. That is a 78 percent increase over five years. 
  • Rates for a 64-gallon trash can would increase from $19.20 per month to $41.21, a 114 percent increase. 

The backstory: The Department of Public Utilities has been operating in the red since 2015 and needs to increase rates to maintain its garbage service without having to be subsidized by other funding sources. 

  • Rates have not increased in Fresno since 2009. 
  • The city could face a $50 million shortfall without raising rates. 

State of play: The councilmembers did not say on Thursday how they plan to vote on June 27, though Councilmembers Garry Bredefeld and Luis Chavez previously told GV Wire that they plan to vote against it. 

  • If the council votes against the rate increases and does not find a way to subsidize the department through the general fund, the city could be forced to cut services. 
  • Buche said the city could move recycling and green waste pickup to every other week. 

What they’re saying: “I’m being expected to choose between cutting public safety to bail out this system or do what I think is the responsible and difficult choice, have a slight increase so that we can fund this core service,” Councilman Mike Karbassi said. “It’s really tough decision to have to make. It’s a pickle.” 

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