The Santa Barbara City Council today will consider changes to the city’s solid waste programs and services for inclusion in a new solid waste franchise agreement with MarBorg Industries, including implementation of industry standard residential curbside collection.
The council will meet at 2 p.m. at City Hall, 735 Anacapa St.
The city’s current agreement with MarBorg is slated to expire in June.
Negotiations with MarBorg began in August and are anticipated to conclude by January with the intention to recommend a new agreement to the council by March, staff said in its report to the council.
The city conducted an online survey for solid waste customers from June to September 2022, which indicated that a majority of customers are either satisfied or very satisfied with MarBorg’s services, staff said.
“There were over 1,200 respondents to the survey, which was conducted online, and while the results are not statistically significant, the majority of respondents indicated being satisfied or very satisfied with MarBorg’s services,” staff said.
“The majority of respondents also indicated that quality of overall service was of highest priority, with range of services provided and cost of service being the next highest overall priorities. Respondents also expressed interest in broader access to household hazardous waste (HHW) collection services, access to compost for gardens and backyards, and additional bulky item pickups, in that order of priority.”
Respondents to the survey provided feedback regarding priorities for enhanced service offerings, which are being pursued during the negotiation process, in addition to new and enhanced programs and services recommended by city staff.
New and enhanced programs and services being considered in negotiations include enhancements to a variety of neighborhood collection services, including transitioning residential collection service to a curbside cart collection program, staff said.
Negotiations are progressing smoothly and are anticipated to be completed within the eight-month timeline established by the council, staff said.
The city and MarBorg intend to negotiate financial outcomes that will minimize or avoid the need for increases in small residential (one to four units) curbside customer rates for the collection services provided by MarBorg in fiscal year (FY) 2025.
Small residential customers who opt-in to “on-premises” collection of solid waste containers will see increased rates corresponding to the higher cost of providing on-premises collection service.
“At this time, council is only being requested to provide direction relating to the preparation of the final draft Agreement that is under negotiation,” staff said. “Final approval of that agreement will be subject to later council action, anticipated in February or March 2023.”
Any changes in MarBorg’s compensation that might result from service delivery changes and that would require adjustments to the city’s customer rates will be subject to future council action after compliance with Proposition 218 procedural and substantive requirements.
The solid waste industry has changed significantly since the city first entered into the agreement with MarBorg in 2003, staff said. In the last 10 years, a series of legislative mandates have been signed into law requiring recycling and organic collections services in certain sectors and establishing targets to reduce statewide disposal of organic waste.
Additionally, changes in recycling and labor markets and advancements in technology have shifted industry operating standards. Implementing these mandates and new industry standards into a new agreement will involve significant changes.
Additionally, evaluating and incorporating lessons learned since current programs and services were put into place will be critical to developing a modern agreement in alignment with industry best practices and the service needs of the Santa Barbara community, staff said.