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San Ramon set to approve waste services contract with new provider ACI

Original post made on Nov 13, 2018

If the council authorizes Mayor Bill Clarkson to execute the agreement for a term of 15 years with a five-year option thereafter, ACI will offer San Ramon higher recycling rates but at an increased cost of 30-45%.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, November 12, 2018, 1:37 PM

Comments (18)

Posted by vince g
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 13, 2018 at 10:01 am

What survey? I live in San Ramon no one asked me. If you want to improve garbage service what about quiet electric trunks with no back-up bells that doesn't pick up until after 8am? Who is going to audit the new garbage provider to ensure that they are actually diverting as promised?

40% more seems a bit steep. What are they going to do with the mountains of recyclables we already have that no one wants? Even China stopped accepting our recyclables.

Also ACI of San Ramon? Does any of the city council have a relationship to this company?


Posted by Elaine R
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 13, 2018 at 10:47 am

Raising the rates on townhouses 45% Are they insane? The rates for retirees is already way too high!!!!! DO NOT DO THIS!
Please find something much more reasonable.


Posted by Steve
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 13, 2018 at 11:17 am

The survey was at the beginning of the year. Not everyone was called, just a large sample.

Multiple bids were solicited. All bids were significantly higher than current contract. There are three major reasons why the contact costs are going up: 1) state regulations require collecting organic wastes at condos, townhouses and apartments (SB 1383) where none was collected before; 2) recycling revenues are way down; 3) labor cost in the Bay Area are way up. Combined, these account for nearly all of the 30-40% increase in costs. The last contact 15 years ago went up over 65% over the contract before that.


Posted by vince g
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 13, 2018 at 11:39 am

Steve I don't know where you get your data, According to the article to stay with Waste Management it would have only been 24% higher. Again, there are more recyclables than can be used and to pay more to increase a useless pile of recyclables doesn't make much sense. What is the relationship between the council and this company? The point of competitive bids is to get the lowest cost.


Posted by Steve
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 14, 2018 at 9:26 pm

Vince g,
If you think there is an improper relationship between anyone on the council and ACI please contact the Contra Costa District Attorneys office or the FBI. They both have offices of public corruption.

The survey earlier in the year yielded results that the residents and businesses in San Ramon both wanted environment emphasis and good customer service ahead of cost. Cost was the least important attribute to residents and businesses in San Ramon.


Posted by Steve
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 14, 2018 at 9:32 pm

Vince or Elaine,
Did either of you go to any of the multiple council meetings where the garbage contract was discussed? Did you speak during Public Comment?

Did you email anyone on the council?

If you did neither, then your complaints on this website were for naught.


Posted by Vince g
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 15, 2018 at 12:45 am

Steve: This article is the first I heard about this. It wasn't well advertised that the city was even considering a large rate increase.

Who did they survey? How big was the sample? Was it significantly representative of the whole electorate? What questions were asked? Were they tested for bias? Surveys can be manipulated. That's why we have elections. Why wasn't it put to a vote? We just had an election. It could have easily been added to the ballot.

It's peculiar that given the choice between a 40% rate increase and a 24% increase that the council chose 40% based on a sample of unknown origin and unknown quality and unknown representation of the whole of San Ramon. This is contrary to the purpose of competitive bidding.

Further, according to the Article the so called "benefit" won't be fully realized until 2029. Why do I have to pay 40% more for 10 years before there is any "benefit" that over-rode cost based on a SECRET SURVEY that no one I know took?

Why didn't the city notify everyone that they are raising the garbage rates and have a hearing with notice? Why not put it to a vote? We just had an election. It could have easily been added to the ballot.

Regarding an improper relationship and reporting it to the FBI, I no proof of an improper relationship. All I have is a city council who is not acting in a transparent way, arbitrarily deciding to raise rates, based on a survey that is neither public or open to everyone impacted by the decision. Seems suspicious to me and is worthy of investigation and review.


Posted by Vince g
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 15, 2018 at 12:52 am

Steve, BTW did you take the survey?


Posted by Steve
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 15, 2018 at 8:29 am

The city hired a professional polling company to conduct a random sampling of residents. I hear that the sample size was 400. That is statistically valid for a city of this size. Multiple meetings were held and all were properly noticed.

To add anything to the ballot requires that the city pay the county. Each item costs. Adding anything adds to the costs the city pays for each election.

The council decides many issues through public meetings. Each meeting is noticed online and at public buildings. You can be on the distribution for agendas and staff reports by going to the city website.

Every year each Councilmember must file a Form 700 which is a statement of financial interest. Any one of the five that have any financial interest must declare that interest on the form and recuse themselves if there is a conflict of interest. The Form 700s are available in the City Clerks Office for your viewing.


Posted by Vince g
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 15, 2018 at 10:06 am

Polls and Surveys are not replacements for elections. Ask Hillary Clinton how good polls reflect voter sentiment. How the questions are posed make them subject to manipulation.

Did they ask the question in the survey, "Would you rather to pay 40% more for the next 10 years for garbage collection to achieve a recycling goal of 90%, of dubious value in 2029? or pay 24% more for the next 10 years for garbage collection to achieve a recycling goal of 67%, of dubious value in 2029?"

I doubt the actual specifics and costs of the garbage collection issue was clearly identified in the survey. If it was nobody would approve this who actually pays for garbage. This is a rip off.


Posted by Steve
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 15, 2018 at 10:48 am

I suggest you get more involved.

I watched the council meeting on video, I didn’t see you make any remarks at public comment time.

Complaining on this website does nothing towards getting your ideas to the decision-makers. You seem very passionate about this topic, but your passion is misplaced if you don’t communicate with the city council.


Posted by Vince g
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 15, 2018 at 11:14 am

The city council needs to be more transparent so citizens can get more involved. Holding secret surveys as justification of policy is nothing more than a sham. Where can you watch a council meeting on video? You don't know me. How would you know my interaction with the council? Your last response seems misguided, if not borderline delusional.


Posted by Steve
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 16, 2018 at 9:05 am

Vince,
You need to go to the City of San Ramon website. You can get more information about city council meetings, watch the videos of many years of council meetings. You can sign up for notifications about meetings and have the link to agendas sent to you. The results of the survey were made public at open meeting of the council.

I’m sorry you feel left out, but there are plenty of ways to be more informed. I suggest that you sign up for the Government 101 class that the city offers. You would learn about how the city operates. More information is on the city website.

With very few exceptions, all meetings of the city council are open to the public. The most common closed meetings are for real estate negotiations, discussions about lawsuits the city is involved in and performance reviews of very senior staff. All other topics are discussed in public meetings. Disclosure about those meetings is on the city website.

The fact that you weren’t present doesn’t make the meetings secret or private. Many people did attend those meetings.

I repeat, comments on websites are not forwarded to the council and are not part of any council deliberations. Complaining here is fruitless. Councilmember contract information is also on the city website.


Posted by Barbara
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 16, 2018 at 9:28 pm

Vince, In looking over cost comparison between ACI and WM on September 25th agenda the rates between the two companies were very close a difference of a couple dollars, see link for price per household per month Web Link

In the city council video in October the city opted for ACI Based on their aggressive diversion rates and community outreach programs , brand new low CNG emission trucks (WM was going to use older trucks) and for their record of customer service in other cities they serve vs out of state call centers.


Posted by Vince g
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 17, 2018 at 12:43 am

Barbara:

So what you are saying is the news article in it's characterization of pricing is incorrect? According to your spreadsheet the difference between WM and ACI is about 6%. The article says the difference is about 14%. I currently pay $47.50 every month for 32 gal garbage, 64 gal green waste and 64 gal recyclable. The spreadsheet you show speaks of a 35 gal garbage for about $40 per month regardless of provider. How do I compare this? What will be the monthly cost for garbage, green waste and recyclable under the new plan?


Posted by Barbara
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 17, 2018 at 8:42 am

Vince, I’m unsure of the exact details of the article you are referring to, the link to the spreadsheet I included is from the city council meetings and the exact proposals put forth by both haulers. The end approved contract between the city and ACI which can be found on the city of San ramon website under the November 13th meeting shows that single family dwellings will be $41.56/month for green waste, trash, and recycling a 31% increase over rates paid now, this was a couple dollars different from WM proposal. Someone mentioned townhomes which will be $32.36/month which is a 46% increase, this increase is higher because a state mandated law now requires townhomes have green carts which they haven’t previously had, this is an additional truck/route which explains the extra cost. All rates are rising due to what’s referred to as the National Sword which is the change in China’s purchasing of recyclables, in the past China paid large sums for recycled material which offset customer cost, now haulers are paying to have the material recycled which is a complete change in the system. Billing cycles for trash collection are every 3 months, if this is incorrect on your statement you may want to contact WM for billing concerns.


Posted by Vince g
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 17, 2018 at 10:17 am

Barbara: Thank-you. The journalist who wrote the article should have stated the case as clearly as you've done and it would have been better. The article is the one that inspired this blog chain. Web Link

Under the new proposal my garbage will go from $95 every three months to $123.5 every three months. This is relatively trivial. The size of the increase is not really the point. Using surveys to justify city action, particularly something that will cost every citizen more is bad policy. Surveys are not substitutes for elections. Anyways, thanks for the info.


Posted by Barbara
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 17, 2018 at 11:17 am

Vince, You’re welcome, I had to do quite a bit of research to understand this as well. Unfortunately, due to change in China policy we were going to see a dramatic rise in rates regardless of which hauler was chosen. The survey merely gave officials a sense of the community’s feeling on priorities. The survey suggested the community was most concerned with environmental impact, customer service, and cost coming in last. Therefore the city chose a slightly higher rate to achieve a local not out of state call center, new low emission trucks, and high diversion rates. I definitely understand your frustration!


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