Trash collection customers in unincorporated areas of Madera County will likely see a higher monthly bill after the Board of Supervisors, on Tuesday, unanimously approved increased fees at county landfills, including for contracted haulers Emadco Disposal Service, Inc. and Redrock Environmental Group.
Effective Jan. 1, fees for contracted haulers to Fairmead Landfill will increase from $22.28 to $40 per ton, while self-hauling fees for non-contracted customers at the North Fork Transfer Station will also increase from $45.58 to $67.12 per ton.
The increases are expected to generate some $887,000 in additional revenue a year. That will bring the county out of the financial red, officials said, due to growing operating costs and the expense of $1 million in attorney’s fees on a lawsuit with former trash haulers.
The revenue is also intended to reach goals of a $1.5 million solid waste reserve, adequately fund nearly $6 million in landfill capital and operating costs, and pre-fund a landfill liner construction project in five years, according to documents filed by solid waste consultant group Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc (GBB).
“Madera County residents benefited from the lower rates for a number of years,” said John Carlton, Senior Vice President of GBB. “So really, now there’s a hole, an economic hole that needs to be filled. This is the way to do it that you have the most control over, that I think are still within the bounds of reason.”
Emadco is contracted to collect trash for unincorporated areas in Eastern Madera County, while Redrock is contracted for Valley locations such as the Madera Ranchos.
The fee increase will raise customer costs about 12% - almost $3 a month - but won’t affect residents in the cities of Madera, Chowchilla, or Fresno, which transports some waste to the Fairmead Landfill.
Dan Rule, director of the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce, told the board the chamber thinks that’s unfair to many county residents and businesses.
“We think it’s unfair that the unincorporated areas pay the burden of these expenses that are not completely clear,” said Rule, who requested an audit of the county’s waste hauling operations. “We do not think this is fair or equitable. We think there needs to be more homework done.”
Carlton said the increases don’t rule out the possibility of future ideas to cut costs or improve efficiency in the county’s waste hauling practices, which could lower bills for customers.
Fairmead Landfill is located near Avenue 22 and Highway 99 north of the City of Madera, while the North Fork Transfer Station is located off Malum Ridge Road shortly north of the intersection with Road 274 and 225.