In Los Osos, an impending garbage rate increase will nearly double residents' trash bills.
Every three years, San Luis Obispo County allows for franchise agreements to be requested and reviewed. In October of 2021, Mission Country Disposal (MCD) submitted a rate increase proposal of 45.93% for solid waste customers.
After delayed review and negotiations, it wasn’t until October 2022 that they landed on a final 41.87% total increase. However, due to the delayed implementation of this increase, MCD requested additional compensation for losses totaling $735,485 which is how they landed at a 97.61% rate increase.
Cynthia Tully, a Los Osos resident, says she was shocked by the rate increase.
"I think this particular notice just kind of slapped me in the face and I'm not this verbal usually, but I just thought it was brazen and shameless, I really did," Tully said.
Retired and living on a fixed income, Tully spreadsheets her expenses every month and doubling the garbage bill was not something she had budgeted for.
On April 1, when the rate hike takes place, her bill will go from just over $53 every other month to over $100.
The current rate for a 32-gallon bin is $25.32. That would increase to $49.68 under the new rates and a 96-gallon bin would go from $41 to $81.
"From time to time, they are allowed to come forward with proposals to raise those rates. It has to be under a certain set of rules, but the proposal was analyzed and determined to be fair," explained San Luis Obispo County District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson.
Mission Country Disposal cites several increasesto the cost of doing business which equals a 41.87% total rate increase.
Because approval and implementation were delayed, MCD saw negative profits from 2020 to 2022.
To make up for those losses, a temporary additional rate increase will be added amounting to 97.61% for the Los Osos Community Services District boundary and 82.22% for the surrounding urban reserve areas.
"If you object to this, you write a written protest and if we receive a protest from more than 50% of the ratepayers, we can not impose this, so really it is the ratepayers of Los Osos that will be deciding," Gibson said.
That temporary additional rate increase will be dropped on January 1, 2024, and rates will adjust to around a 50% increase instead of 97%.
If you do oppose this rate increase, you have to send in a written opposition letter before the board of supervisors takes action on March 21 at a meeting they are holding in conjunction with the Los Osos Community Service District.
Written protests may be mailed or personally delivered to:
County of San Luis Obispo Administrative Office
Attn: Clerk of the Board
1055 Monterey St. Suite D430
San Luis Obispo, CA 93408
For reference, in September 2022, both the Cambria Community Services District (CSD) and Cayucos Sanitary District approved similar base year rate increase requests from MCD of 41.46% and 43.30%, respectively.