Fresno lawmakers to debate raising residential garbage rates

Fresno hasn’t raised garbage rates since 2009. A soaring deficit, new state mandates, and a potential contract dispute loom large over a vote to raise rates.

Fresno’s garbage rates will be up for debate on Thursday, with a potential 114 percent hike on the table. 

But there already appears to be some opposition to raising rates among the city council. 


The backstory: Last year the city revealed that the Department of Public Utilities has been operating in the red since 2015, with a rate increase needed to ensure that the city does not have to dip into its reserves or subsidize garbage services through other sources.

  • Fresno could face a $50 million shortfall over the next five years without higher rates.  
  • The city was scheduled to hold the Proposition 218 hearing to discuss the proposed rate hikes on May 2 but had a technical error in its mailing list for notices and instructions for how residents could protest. The city rescheduled the hearing for Thursday at 5 p.m. 

The big picture: The city is proposing to raise rates by nearly $20 per month by 2029 for the standard 96-gallon solid waste service. 

  • Rates for the 64-gallon trash can would increase from $19.20 to 41.21 per month, a 114 percent increase. 
  • Rates for the standard 96-gallon cart would go up from $25.37 to $45.24, a 78 percent increase. 

What they’re saying: Councilmembers Garry Bredefeld and Luis Chavez told GV Wire that they will vote against the increase. 

  • “People are already extremely overtaxed by the government,” Bredefeld told the publication. “Inflation is out of control and people are already having a difficult time paying their bills. I’m against any new taxes and will continue to oppose them and efforts to further burden our citizens. 
  • Chavez said, “I will not be voting for a rate increase, based on the feedback I received from senior citizens living on a fixed income. With increasing gas prices, escalating costs for rent, inflation for food, and the tripling of PG&E rates, it’s too much for our seniors to bear at this point. Our staff has done a great job doing community outreach, and I respect the process, but I can’t support this at this time.”

What we’re watching: If a majority of Fresno residents return their protest cards that were mailed out, then the city would automatically be barred from raising rates. 

  • That means 58,480 people will need to have their cards submitted to the city council by Thursday. 
  • If not, the city will be allowed to move forward with the proposal, but if two other councilmembers side with Bredefeld and Chavez, the rates will not increase. 
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