Goleta residents and business owners will see a 5.91% rate increase of trash and recycling fees starting July 1.
The City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to increase the rates to implement recent state mandates and programs.
These programs include full capture programs to prevent trash from entering storm drains, creeks and the ocean, along with composting and recycling programs and edible food recovery programs to reduce food waste and greenhouse gases while feeding those who are food insecure.
The mandate also includes water quality protection programs and creek and watershed management programs to restore natural creek conditions, habitats and further improve water quality.
There was no public comment during the council meeting on the matter, but Councilman Kyle Richards said the council received several complaint letters.
“We hear them, and we don’t want to raise the rates any higher than we need to,” he said. “Several of the comment letters we got mentioned that this is going to particularly affect people on limited incomes or fixed incomes specifically. I hear that, and we’re very sympathetic to not wanting to pass an additional cost onto our residents than we have to. But unfortunately, that’s just what we have to cover in order to just break even with our recovery program.”
Councilman Roger Aceves echoed the discomfort with charging Goleta residents more, and he encouraged lobbying for fewer unfunded state mandates.
“We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t have so many doggone unfunded mandates from the state,” he said. “We have trouble trying to find how to pay for these mandates.”
However, the council commended its partnership with MarBorg Industries. Mayor Paula Perotte said she has “no complaints” about the company’s work.
“What we’re actually being required to do are not bad things — they’re good things,” Mr. Richards said. “I know that Goleta loves our creeks and we love our clean environment, and we want our city to be as pristine and ecologically healthy as possible and this is going to help us get there.”