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Oakland picks new, local company for waste service

Oakland closes a deal with a new garbage collection company that says they will deliver better service, but customers will have to pay more.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
The deal is done. There's a new trash hauler in the East Bay and while Oakland city officials are happy, some customers are not. The new deal will come with higher garbage bills and that's the problem.

Despite the higher rates, the new garbage collection company promises better service. More than 100 new garbage trucks will be on the street and the new service provider will be California Waste Solutions or CWS. They told ABC7 News they will be ready for the task that will start in July.

"I don't want it to be more expensive than what I'm already paying," Maxwell Park Janine Jackson said.

Come next July, it will be. Collecting garbage in Oakland, is big bucks. In fact, it's billions of bucks. On Wednesday the Oakland City Council approved a new garbage collection deal with CWS -- one of the only two companies to bid for the contract. A deal that means homeowners like Jackson will have to cut a little more out of her budget to meet rising garbage rates.

"They say it's going to be cheaper than Waste Management this first year, but what about the following years? Is it going to be more?" Jackson said.

The city got behind CWS because the Oakland-based company promised lower rates than their competitor and current contract holder, Houston-based Waste Management Solutions. Right now, the average homeowner pays about $40 a month. Come July, that fee will rise about $7.

"Well the Oakland contract was many years in planning," Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said. She says the new deal fits into the city's "zero waste goals" and presents residents with a way to actually save money if they reduce their waste. "If you go down to that $20 gallon can, it's just going to be just a little bit more than $2 more a month, after 15 years that will be your raise in cost and I think a lot of Oaklanders can do that."

"As a resident of Oakland, picking up my trash on a regular basis is hell of important in Oakland," Oakland Councilmember Noel Gallo said.

Gallo was the only city leader to vote against approving the new contract. He says CWS simply isn't ready for the scale of garbage collection necessary for a city the size of Oakland.

"California Waste doesn't even have a site. It will take them five years to develop a site," Gallo said.

ABC7 News asked one of the leaders of CWS if they're ready for the job. They said yes and are bringing a number of new jobs to the area.

"We are ready and we have letters of commitment, we have letters of obligation from our vendors and our contractors. We will be ready to do this it's what we do," CWS, COO Joel Corona said. "CWS will be putting about $80 million into a new facility in the city of Oakland."

That means hundreds of new jobs.
Related Topics:
business politics waste management garbage disposal trash voting jean quan homeowners Oakland
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