Council Oks garbage rate hike
As expected, the Sonoma City Council approved a 4.59 percent rate increase for garbage pick-up within city limits. The council also approved a permanent food waste disposal program that had been initiated on a trial basis by Sonoma Garbage Company to test the interest of city restaurants to compost food waste as opposed to including it in the waste stream going to county dump sites.
According to Ken Wells, spokesman for Sonoma Garbage, about two-dozen businesses – representing some 10 percent of the city’s restaurant and food processing facilities – are currently using the service, which offers curbside collection of non-meat food waste. The collected material ends up at a county-run composting operation, and the resulting compost is made available for free to cities and schools. Wells added that costs of the program are borne by commercial businesses and are not reflected in residential garbage rates.
Those rates will increase by an average of 33-cents a month for residential customers, raising the cost of a typical 32-gallon container from $7.29 to $7.62.
The rate increase is calculated based on the increased cost of tipping fees at the county disposal site, and according to a standardized formula called the Refuse Rate Index that incorporates a variety of published indices based on actual costs.
Sonoma is the only city or jurisdiction in Sonoma County to have a locally-owned garbage company – represented by four generations of the Curotto family – and is the object of frequent appreciation by City Council members who praise the Curotto’s service and community spirit.
Newly elected council member David Cook noted that, “Sonoma is lucky to have its own garbage service. I was always afraid of impacting people on fixed incomes, but this (rate increase) is justified.”