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Cerritos City Council Approves 16% Increase in Residential Trash Rates

BY BRIAN HEWS

After seeing three years of disallowed rate increases, the Cerritos City Council, led by Mayor Naresh Solanki, Mayor pro tem Chuong Vo and Councilman Bruce Barrows, voted to give Cerritos’ city trash hauler CalMet a 16% residential increase.

The increase was a combination of the last three years of non-approval to raise the rates.

In 2017 a new agreement with CalMet dictated the maximum rates the company could charge Cerritos residents.

The agreement included a provision for CalMet to submit an annual request to adjust the maximum allowable rate that can be charged. In 2018 they submitted their request for a 5% residential increase and a 4.3% commercial increase; that request was denied on a 3-2 vote.

In July 2019, CalMet submitted a second request but this time the company submitted an extraordinary rate adjustment as allowed by the contract.

CalMet proposed a 14% increase to commercial bins while freezing residential rates at current levels, but sensing that would not pass, at CalMet’s request, the item was removed from the agenda.

This year CalMet submitted a proposal for a 16% residential increase, 13.7% commercial bin increase, and an 18% commercial roll-off increase.

According to staff reports, CalMet would earn an additional $1.3 million providing the city nearly $193,000 in franchise fees, but residents would see their bill go from $17.60 to $20.42, an increase of $2.82.

CalMet’s former residential rates in Cerritos were one of the lowest of surrounding cities surveyed; with the new rate increase it is right about in the middle, $4 less than Whittier, $3 less than La Mirada and Downey.

The rate increases were approved on a 3-2 vote with Councilpersons Grace Hu and Frank Yokoyama voting no.

Councilman Yokoyama was not happy with the vote, “Calmet is working fast to take the money from Cerritos residents and Cerritos businesses. Last week Thursday night, the Cerritos City Council approved the Calmet requested rate increases by a vote of 3-2. Naresh, Chuong and Bruce voted yes to approve the rate increases. Grace and I voted no.”

Yokoyama continued, “Grace, Mark Pulido and I also voted no to Calmet rate increases in 2018. Interestingly, Calmet was ready to mail trash bills with the higher rates the very next day Friday, and Cerritos residents received those higher trash bills Monday. As I explained at last Thursday’s City Council meeting, the Calmet rate increases approved by Naresh, Chuong and Bruce means Cerritos residents and businesses will pay Calmet an additional eight million dollars over the remaining seven years of the contract.

RELATED: Cerritos Council Approves Zone Change Adjacent to Liberty Park

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