By Daniel Borsuk
Without a whimper of a protest from a non-franchised solid waste hauler, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to make it costly to operate a business in the county.
At the request of District 1 Supervisor John Gioia, supervisors agreed to raise the performance bond to $50,000 from $20,000 even though at one point the supervisor from Richmond attempted to press on the need to lift up the performance bond as much as $100,000.
In addition to paying for the annual performance bond, anyone conducting business as a non-franchise waste hauler in the county would have to pay $229 for an annual permit per vehicle and meet other rules the Contra Costa County Health Services Department has developed.
Independent trash hauling operators would also be subject to annual inspections and would have to adhere to other rules county supervisors established in an ordinance passed last November.
The non-franchised waste haulers ordinance is set to go be enforced in March. County officials are uncertain how many non-franchise trash haulers there are in the county because they work undercover in warehouses and illegally dump loads usually under the cloak of darkness and in out-of-the-way unincorporated parts of the county.
“I’ve been working on this issue in North Richmond for 20 years, and if they (i.e. homeowners) can hire someone to haul their trash for $20 versus $70 they’ll do it for $20,” said Gioia. “The question is whether we are setting the bar too low.”
The supervisor contends his District 1 in West county and District 5 in East County represented by supervisor Federal Glover tend to be hit the hardest by non-franchised solid waste haulers who illegally dump trash in unincorporated areas thereby forcing the county to spend thousands of dollars to clean up sites.
“If you make it too expensive, “warned Supervisor Candace Andersen, whose District 2 gets perhaps the least amount of trash illegally dumped by non-franchised haulers, “there will be more of a need for haulers to resort to the black market.”
District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis, who has observed hundreds of paint cans litter Marsh Creek Road, commented, “These people can do a lot of damage with one load. Twenty thousand dollars for a performance bond is nothing. I’d like to set it higher. “
At the suggestion of Board Chair and District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, Gioia and other supervisors agreed the $50,000 performance bond would be a good start to assess independent trash haulers not affiliated with either of the two major trash haulers, Republic Services and Mt. Diablo Resource Recovery. Both companies played key roles in compelling the supervisors to approve the ordinance last year.
District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg said the problem of trash dumped by non-franchised haulers on vacant lots is a countywide problem, not mainly an East and West county issue. While he supports raising the performance bond to $50,000, he said the board of supervisors needs to be proactive and needs to monitor how the non-franchised trash haulers respond to the new ordinance.
Board chairperson Mitchoff requested that Marilyn Underwood of the Contra Costa Health Services Department, the department enforcing the ordinance, to give the board a progress report in March once the ordinance becomes enforced.
Fire District to Acquire 5 New Trucks
The Contra Costa Fire Protection District will add sorely needed new fire equipment with the supervisors 5-0 consent action approval to buy five new fire engines from Golden State Fire Apparatus Inc. at a price tag not to exceed $4.6 million. The new vehicles will be delivered to the CCFPD in January 2019.
Supervisors voted to acquire four Type I fire engines and one 100-foot aerial ladder truck from Golden State Fire Apparatus to help alleviate an aging fleet of 35 Type I engines with an average age of 9.3 years per vehicle. All engines that are more than 10 years old, Fire Chief Jeff Carman reported, have more than 100,000 miles. Four Type I engines targeted for replacement each have more than 125,000 miles. One engine sustained a catastrophic motor failure while responding to a state mutual aid response in Southern California this fall.
The new aerial apparatus truck will be the fire district’s 10th ladder truck.
The county has arranged a 10-year lease agreement through PNC Equipment Financial LLC worth an amount not to exceed $4.6 million with annual payments of $460,000 at an annual interest rate of 3.5 percent.