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In move to clean streets, Sonoma County set to raise garbage fees

  • (PD FILE, 2008)

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday is expected to approve an increase in curbside garbage collection fees, a move that would generate additional money to pay for expanded street sweeping services and dead animal removal along county roads.

Residents in unincorporated areas of the county could see increases ranging from 37 cents to $1.02 on monthly bills starting in August. The amount depends on how far garbage collectors travel in the county. The increase is part of an extended financial contract with Redwood Empire Disposal, part of the Ratto Group of companies, the dominant garbage hauler in Sonoma County.

The proposed fee increase would boost county revenue from curbside garbage service by about $400,000, to a total of $3.2 million per year.

The contract would extend street sweeping services in the unincorporated parts of Forestville, Guerneville, Monte Rio and Occidental to six days a year, scheduled around rainy or stormy months.

“The sweeping would be focused before storms or in between storms, keeping debris from just running into the streams or rivers when it rains,” said Susan Klassan, director of the county’s Transportation and Public Works Department.

Dead animal collection would also change under the new agreement. At present, only large, wild animals such as deer are collected by Redwood Empire, with oversight from the county’s public health department. The new rules shift oversight duties to the public works department, and expand collection to include both big and small animals, domestic and wild.

Redwood Empire’s current contract with the county, which started in 2010, expires in 2029. The total value of the contract in today’s dollars is about $580 million over the 20-year period. Expanded street sweeping and dead animal collection services are set to cost an additional $275,000 a year for staff and equipment.


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