City of Santa Paula logoOn August 3, the Santa Paula City Council adopted a resolution awarding an exclusive solid waste franchise agreement to Athens Services and directed City staff to initiate the Proposition 218 process. To ensure the costs associated with implementing new state legislation are covered, the 25-year agreement includes rate adjustments for all customers beginning October 1.

“Since Athens Services started providing waste and recycling services, there have been several monumental changes in solid waste laws at the State level,” said Mayor Jenny Crosswhite. “For the past year, I have been part of an extensive review of the contract’s terms and conditions to ensure the terms are fiscally responsible, provide appropriate protections for the City, and are reflective of the services our residents expect. I would like to thank City staff for their diligence throughout this long process.”

The approved agreement supports important services requested by the City such as citywide illegal dumping services, street sweeping services and e-waste and household hazardous waste events. Additionally, all residential customers will receive new bins for trash, recycling and organics recycling.

A significant portion of the collected annual franchise fees are anticipated to be used for funding local street improvements and pavement maintenance throughout the City; a big win for our roads! Athens will also give back to the Santa Paula community by providing at least $50,000 a year to support City schools and community programs for the entire duration of the agreement.

Consistent with nearly all cities across California, the increase in monthly bill rates for residential and commercial customers are largely reflective of inflationary increases, ongoing franchise fees and the mandatory implementation of organic waste and recycling laws such as Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383).

The implementation of SB 1383 is a top driver of the increased cost of services. This statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants requires all California cities, including Santa Paula, to reduce organic material waste in landfills and rescue surplus food sources from commercial establishments to feed Californians facing food insecurity. To comply with SB 1383 requirements, all California waste haulers, including Athens Services, must change their current waste collection and processing practices, which impacts how customers sort their organic waste. Residents and businesses will be required to separate their organic waste, such as food scraps and yard trimmings, from their recyclables and other household waste products so these materials can be repurposed into products that help our environment, such as mulch and compost.

“While the City is committed to doing its part to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change, we recognize that this is a big operational change for residents and businesses,” said Public Works Director Clete Saunier. “The City appreciates everyone’s flexibility during this time as we work closely with Athens Services to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible.”

In accordance with Proposition 218, Santa Paula property owners may protest certain property-related fees, assessments and charges prior to any increases going into effect. The City of Santa Paula has mailed notices of the proposed rate adjustments to all affected customers and is holding a formal protest hearing on Wednesday, September 28.

If the majority of affected property owners do not protest the new rates at the hearing, the new rates will go into effect on October 1.

For more information about the City’s partnership with Athens Services, visit their website.