Friday, August 15, 2014

Commercial Customers Fund City's Trash Bonanza

San Angelo Live reported:

San Angelo businesses received their notices and new trash invoices indicating that the commercial trash rates have increased significantly this month, and they don’t like it.

Rates increased 73%, 92% and 31% for businesses cited in the article.  These are the same commercial customers Republic overcharged for over a decade.  It appears the past is a predictor of the future.

Republic's language is typical nowadays, where no one accepts responsibility for their part:

“The City of San Angelo has adopted a change in ordinance increasing landfill and collection rates.” 

Actually, the City put out an RFP for trash and landfill services, narrowed it down to Republic, negotiated the "best deal" it could on behalf of citizens, then signed contracts establishing landfill and collection rates for customers.  Republic agreed to charge such rates, in part to meet the city's demand for upfront money.

The city will clear nearly $1 million alone from charging landfill Cell 11A back to Republic.  

The July 1 City Council presentation clearly showed the increase for residential customers.

Despite showing four slides of new commercial pricing, not one showed an anticipated increase for typical business customers.  TDS President/CEO Bob Gregory gave public testimony on commercial rates the day City Council approved the contract:

"This contract could be up to and over $2 billion...  It's the biggest contract any council has ever considered...  If you go to Tab 5 you will see a comparison of commercial rates.  It was said in the press conference recently that commercial rates were comparable (between Republic and TDS).  As it turns out that we see rates now, it is not true.  TDS commercial rates are less than the rates proposed in this contract.  They are laid out very carefully.  This is a very significant contract increase for commercial rates coming on August 1."

Heidi Brooks, owner of Cactus Car Washes in San Angelo shared this with City Council before the vote:

"We need to get all the information out on the table, to all small businesses, to all residents."
Stanley Mayfield, owner of Mayfield Paper, offered:

"I urge you to slow this thing down, air it out.  Let the citizens look at it.  Let the business community look at it.  We appreciate your endurance in doing so."

Council did not endure. They approved the contracts.  At the next meeting builders spoke out saying their costs would increase greatly under the new contract.  It turns out they weren't alone.

Update 9-3-14:  A board member for the city's Development Corporation commented on the large increase in his trash bill in their August 27 meeting,  He noted, "It's a doozy."  

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