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New solid waste service rates OKd by council

City users of solid waste collection will pay less – or more, if they have alley service now.

And the alley service is going away, as of July 1.

The Shafter City Council on the new rates, for service delivered by American Refuse.

Public Works Director Michael James told the attendees at the public hearing Tuesday night that in 2021, the City of Shafter developed a three-cart system that would be utilized by the city for its residents, which is required by the State of California. James said that American Refuse submitted a bid that was then approved by the council.

The rates for residential customers will increase for those who now have alley service. Those customers who have curbside service will see their rate decrease by about two dollars. Customers who have alley service will be paying $26.55 per month, compared to the $16.69 they are currently paying – a more than 60% increase.

Four letters of protest were submitted to the council, far from the number needed to block the council from voting on the new rates for all city customers.

Before the vote, City Councilmember Chad Givens commented that he didn't have a problem with the increase in the collection rates, but he did not agree with the elimination of the alley service now offered. Givens said that he thought that there should still be discussion on retaining the alley service for those who have it now.

Councilmember Gilbert Alvarado said that his residence currently has alley service, but that he sees points on keeping or ending the service. "There is a problem with dumpster diving with the big containers, and if we kept alley service with the three-cart system, there would be 12 different smaller containers in the alley, possibly clogging up the alleyway."

The rate increase was approved on a 3-1 vote, with Givens voting "no" because of the alley service elimination.

During public comment, former mayor Garry Nelson spoke about his opposition to the required curbside pickup. "My house was built with the premise of there being alley service for the trash containers. To get my property accessible for curbside pickup, I am facing a cost of $5,000, and I guarantee you that this will not happen." Nelson said he wouldn't pay that price.

Debbie Haley, who also has a residence that has alley service, concurred with other speakers in saying that a lot of the homes in Shafter were built with alley service in mind. She also mentioned that with curbside service, it will diminish the beauty of the streets and will not help keep the trash cans from being scavenged.

Colleen Diltz also spoke on the issue. The Shafter resident commented that if she no longer had alley service, that she would not be going into the alley. "I have a trash can in the alley, and I clean and sweep the alley area behind my house, which I will no longer do if there is no alley service."

Diltz also said that there must have been some misunderstanding on what constitutes a protest. Diltz had submitted a letter of protest on Monday to City Hall with 21 signatures on it, not knowing that this would not constitute a protest.

Another city resident, Ron Nunlist, was also against the elimination of the alley service. Nunlist mentioned that the city will be offering bulky waste pick up once a week, such as mattresses and similar items. "This will not look good with a bunch of bulky waste out in front of our houses. I would rather have those items picked up in the alley, instead of out in the street."

Mayor Cathy Prout said that she understands the concerns of a lot of people, but she also commented that the elimination of alley service is also going to cost her dollars at her home, who currently has alley service. "But, I do know that I will be able to control my trash cans."

She also said that she has seen a lot of trash strewn about, but there isn't a perfect solution for everyone. She said that we have to at least try the new system, with everyone taking control of their trash cans and make the city beautiful. "It will be a challenge, but we have to try it. We have to do it. It is a sad day, but you have to work with us and see if this can work."


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