By KAREN VELIE
Amid public outrage, officials in Cayucos and Cambria have agreed to raise trash rates over 40%.
While trash rates throughout the state are increasing because of new regulations regarding food waste and increases in gas prices, Cambria and Cayucos rate hikes are almost double average projected increases. In Cayucos, rates are set to increase 43.3%.
In order to allow the trash hauler in Cambria to recoup losses because of higher costs, rates will increase by 62.19% until April 1, 2023. The rate of increase will then drop to 41.46%.
In San Luis Obispo County, rates in some areas are slated to increase from 3.3% to 22%, while other residents will have their rates increase by more than 40%.
Factors such as the selected management authority, where food waste is processed, and the contracted trash hauler make huge differences in planned rate increases.
For example, Cayucos and Cambria work with the SLO Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA), which tacks on an additional 5.5% to all bills to cover their costs. Those affiliated with the IWMA are given a cookie cutter approach, in which all residents are required to segregate food waste in a special container, with most haulers transporting the food waste to an anaerobic digester facility located south of the city of San Luis Obispo.
In comparison, Santa Margarita works with SLO County, which charges an additional 2% to cover its costs, less than half the cost of working with the IWMA.
In addition, the county worked to exempt rural residents from the food waste requirement. As a result, in Santa Margarita the rates are expected to increase by about 20%, compared to the more than 40% in Cambria and Cayucos.
And while haulers in Cayucos and Cambria transport food waste to the anaerobic digester facility, Templeton’s trash hauler – Mid-State Solid Waste – transports food waste to a much cheaper compost center in Creston. Rates in Templeton are expected to rise by less than 20%.