Town Square


Original post made by Stu Gazzo on Apr 29, 2009

I just received my Garbage Bill and it shows a rate increase of almost $12.00. Their website is of little help-no information about the raise that I can find. My question is: Is this part of the new recycling program that the city just recently approved and if it is then I was never given a choice about which size waste can I wanted; and if it isn't part of that decision, does it mean that when that decision is implemented we will be looking at another rate increase?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 29, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Yea, I'm a little upset about that too. We wanted to switch to the smaller can before the rate hike, but I was under the impression that the rate wouldn't go up until we got the third can.

Posted by Millie, a resident of Parkside
on Apr 29, 2009 at 8:27 pm

I was surprised at the increase too. Not that it will do any good, but I plan to call tomorrow and ask why we couldn't choose the smaller can before the increase.
Make sure if you are 62 or over that you get the senior discount!!!
All they require is a copy of your drivers license.

Posted by unclehomerr.., a resident of Downtown
on Apr 29, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Things I've learned the hard way over the years!

1.) When ANY governmental or quasi-governmental entity says something like.. "We're considering... " or, "We might have to implement.."; you can bet it's already at the printers!

Case in point. They've 'floated' the rumor for years that the VA Hospital in Livermore might be closed/reduced/restructured. They've had meetings, town hall forums, and informational sessions. The next step is to close without warning and cry.. "We don't know why anyone's surprised! We've been talking about this for years!"

It's the nature of the beast....


Posted by Stu Gazzo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2009 at 10:49 pm

So everyone got slammed to the higher rate hike without getting a choice for getting the smaller can which would have meant a smaller rate hike. I'm not recycling crap!!!!!

Posted by Billie, a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 30, 2009 at 8:52 am

I plan on sending my thoughts to the Mayor and Council via the city website: Web Link

If that doesn't work (I've had problems recently getting that link to work if I use too many words) I'll send my message to Nelson Fialho for the Mayor/Council:
Nelson Fialho <>

Maybe they'll have second thoughts about raising the rates prior to the curbside recycling impolementation if a lot of us contact them!

Posted by Lee, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2009 at 9:47 am

My new garbage bill came the other day. It effectively makes us pay more for normal service, and we already recycle everything we can separately from Pleasanton Garbage! So now I get to pay more for less, and what about the workers that separate out our recyclables? Do they get to keep their jobs or are they laid off?

I think we pay a lot for garbage service, and we try to recoup some of it by doing our own recycling. Now that effort is not worth my time! I'm not happy about this!!

Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 30, 2009 at 10:15 am

From the PW dated Friday.April 10, 2009:
"Councilman Jerry Thorne said that while he didn't like the idea of raising garbage rates in the current economy, he would vote to approve the hikes and the new curbside recycling program, especially with THE REDUCED RATE FOR THE NEW 35-GAL (my emphasis), all refuse cart which will raise rates by only $1.09 a month."
" 'You can bet I'll be among the first to request the smaller sized can', Thorne said."
I wonder if Mr. Thorne got to make his choice, because I know I sure didn't.

Posted by Bill, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Apr 30, 2009 at 10:50 am

I just called and spoke with the billing person at Pleasanton Garbage Service.

She said:
- This is "just a rate increase" and has nothing to do with what was just approved by the council
- The new recycling containers will be coming out this summer, at which point we'll be given the option to choose the smaller garbage container.
- There will be ANOTHER rate increase this summer when the recycling program is rolled out.

She then told me she's "just a worker" there and has no control over any of it. When I asked to speak with the owner, she rudely said he's rarely there and wasn't available to talk to me. When I said I'd complain to the city council instead, she said "you go do that" and hung up on me.

THIS is the company we've chosen to have our city's garbage monopoly and receive TWO rate increases in the same year in the middle of a major recession?!

Time to write the council.

Posted by Can't Be Quiet, a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 30, 2009 at 11:09 am

I feared that that was the case...2 rate hikes within months of each other. Well, there goes Measure G's money. When does it end with government...................WHEN WE DIE.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 30, 2009 at 11:15 am

That was the original poster's question, would there be two rate hikes? Let's see, bad economy for government agencies so give us more of what you don't have, more for schools, more for garbage, more for water, raise the sale's tax. Ya, Measure-G has a real good chance of passing.

Posted by Practical Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2009 at 2:00 pm

I agree that a 14% increase is uncalled for. Fuel costs are back down and no one's wages are going up so what justification is there for this much of an increase?

Posted by Billie, a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 30, 2009 at 2:53 pm

I received the following from Steve Bocian, Asst. City Mgr., in response to the e-mail I sent this morning. As mentioned earlier, there will be another rate increase with the curbside recycling. Wasn't that one supposed to be about $12.00 as well if you opted for the bigger can?

"In response to the questions raised in your email to Nelson dated April 30, the refuse and recycling rate increase includes two components, one covers general operating increases that have occurred since the last rate increase in 2004 and a projection of increased costs through March 2010, while the other covers the enhanced recycling program that will be implemented later this year. PGS's current quarterly bill includes the charges for operating increases only. With the start of the recycling program, you will have an opportunity to select a smaller refuse collection cart. You will receive a mailer allowing you to make your choice within the next few weeks. Regarding the pro-rating of the bill, the increase for the recycling program will not occur until the program begins so pro-ration is unnecessary. I hope this answers your questions."

Posted by Billie, a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 30, 2009 at 3:06 pm

So, if my math is right, the $12 increase now, and the $12 increase in a couple months (should I choose to keep the larger bin) equates to about a 28% increase in my PGS rates (currently paying $84). I know I didn't know that.

I've made several suggestions that smaller households should be able to choose a smaller recycle bin as well as garbage bin, at a reduced rate. Not only would it save us money, it would reduce PGS start-up costs for the new recycling program. I think I'm being ignored.

Posted by Bill, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Apr 30, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Just for kicks, I spent ten minutes doing my own market research on Google. This confirmed my suspicion that Pleasanton's garbage rates are higher than all other neighboring cities I could locate—by a lot in many cases!

I imagine these cities all use the same landfills and have the same cost overhead as PGS. Given what I see here, and considering the state of the economy and what a large number of families are coping with these days, I just don't see the justification for approving the rate increase for PGS—especially considering that their rates were already higher than all these neighboring cities!

From the Pleasanton Weekly article:
The new rates approved by the council will be increased from $28.04 to $29.13 a month for those opting for a smaller 35-gallon general refuse cart to $34.57 a month for a larger 96-gallon cart, which is the same size as the all-purpose carts residents now have.

The 35-gallon garbage cart + 96 gallon recycling cart is the same plan we had when we lived in San Jose, and seems to be what the other cities are also doing. It was perfect for us, and I suspect it is what the "typical" Pleasanton family will opt for, at $29.13/month.

Livermore: $15.89
San Ramon: $21.58
Web Link

Danville: $17.00
Lafayette: $21.62
Moraga: $20.82
Orinda: $27.35
Walnut Creek: $15.90
Web Link

San Jose: $26.95
Web Link

Fremont: $24.10
Web Link

Union City: $26.39
Web Link

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 30, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Did any of you see this? "Tim Hunt: Going green costs taxpayers a lot" Web Link

Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 30, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Ahh, Pleasanton that toddlin' town, that rich little town. Garbage rates higher, service no better; teacher salaries higher, test scores no better...why would antone be surprised? Comcast is next on the rate parade list, and then the school district, but at least you can stop the school at the polls if you're not a toddlin' rich little voter.

Posted by Billie, a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 30, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Nice research! And our rates are even higher than those quoted by the PW, since the rate hike we just received for this quarter does not include the curbside recycling rate increase we will be receiving.

Tim Hunt had this one right, Stacey!

Posted by Jarhead, a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm

All "going green" means is that they get more of that green stuff you used to call money. Going green is a booming business, just ask Al Gore, the loser has a new lucrative career.

Posted by justwondering, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2009 at 6:34 pm

I called Pleasanton Garbage today and requested to have my service changed now from the 96 gallon can to the 35 gallon can. They will change out my can next week on the day they pick up my garbage. Costwise, it means my monthly rate will stay the same until the recycling program kicks in then I'll have the small increase associated with that. We're lucky in that we can get by with a smaller can so the cost increase is minimal for us. Remember that the garbage service hasn't been raised for four years which is a lot better then most things these days. The unfortunate part is that the increases are coming at a bad time with the sales tax increase. I think it will make it just that much harder to pass the parcel tax for schools.

Posted by Jarhead, a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 30, 2009 at 7:13 pm

You all know what's going to happen, people are going to start burning garbage in there BBQs. Keep your noses peeled because its gonn happen.

Posted by Bill, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Apr 30, 2009 at 8:24 pm

justwondering, I'm not opposed to occasional, reasonable cost increases in general. My problem with this one is that 1) PGS' rates were already amongst the highest (see my post above, comparing other local cities) and 2) these two back-to-back increases amount to a 40% change in the standard rate (from $25 to $35). Considering that Livermore, Walnut Creek and Danville are getting by at $16/month, these Pleasanton Garbage Service folks are either thieves or lousy businesspeople.

Posted by justwondering, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Bill, I don't disagree with your assessment--my only point is that if a resident is able to downsize can sizes they can do it now and basically negate the current increase in rates as well as incur only a very nominal rate when the recycle program is put into place. For us, every little bit saved (avoided) helps.

Posted by michelle, a resident of Ruby Hill
on May 3, 2009 at 7:19 pm

The Pleasanton Garbage Service (PGS) rate increase and plan to change our recycling program sure seemed to get approved without much discussion or input from the community. For starters please note part of the fee increase will be passed on to the City of Pleasanton as a franchise fee. If the Independent News is correct the city will see an increase from $31,000 to $180,000. Don't we already pay enough taxes?
I have emailed the city council to say PGS rate increase & recycling topic should be revisited. Please do the same so we can be heard in our city.

Posted by Erika, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 4, 2009 at 9:44 am

I too was surprised. After reading all the info on PWeekly I had already decided to implement the new recycling program so was waiting to get info about when we could change our can size etc. I was shocked to get my bill with the increase & no info on the new program. So called PGS & was told the same info as others received. WHAT??!! I think this was all planned - talk to the community about why the increase was going to happen & the new change in service...but then sneak in another increase while we were expecting it but not provide the service. I bet alot of people who were no planning on making the change to a smaller can just think this is the increase they were expecting. The city should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this.

Posted by Billie, a resident of Mohr Park
on May 4, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Be prepared for a similar double jump in your water rates!

May 5th the Council is considering a resolution requesting Pleasanton Water Customers to voluntarily reduce their water demand by 20% during the calendar year 2009. Of course, that will mean a loss of revenue. The Staff Report suggests that "The loss in revenue due to water conservation could be offset by changing the City existing water rate structure to compensate for different levels of water demand reductions or slightly higher water rates or tiers for higher use customers."

See Item 15 on the Agenda: Web Link

This happens every time there's a crunch - first the voluntary reduction, then the forced reduction - because everyone knows that if you cut back too much during a voluntary reduction, you're going to be in dire straits when the forced reduction comes. Of course, with our reduction the water/gas/garbage/energy provider loses revenue, so the rates have to go up to compensate.

The City is already performing a water rate study to adjust existing rates, so any loss of revenue rate increase will probably be on top of the "adjusted" rates.

Posted by Johnsen, a resident of Valley Trails
on Sep 10, 2009 at 7:33 pm

The garbage service in Pleasanton does indeed have a monopoly. People living in Pleasanton are not allowed to seek the services of other garbage services, thus ensuring overcharged prices.

We need to do something about this.

Posted by Pablo, a resident of Downtown
on Sep 10, 2009 at 9:51 pm

I am going to start burning the sh...........t in my backyard! I bet if i do it at night it will be a long time before i am caught and the fine less than the rate increases.!!!!!!!!!!!!! is the surplus going for teachers salaries while they sit at home during the summer 4 months?