COMPTON — The City Council has narrowly agreed to let a private company increase commercial trash collection rates by 6%, meaning that businesses will continue to pay the second-highest rate of eight neighboring Southeast cities.
Mayor Walter R. Tucker, along with Councilmen Floyd A. James and Robert L. Adams, voted last week to approve the increase for Western Waste Industries, the city's sole commercial trash collector. The council also approved extending Western Waste's contract to 1994 from an original expiration date of 1990.
Councilman Maxcy D. Filer and Councilwoman Jane D. Robbins opposed the new contract.
The fee for the city's residential trash collection, which is not done by Western Waste, was not affected.
Western Waste has in the past made substantial campaign contributions to Tucker, James and Adams.
Terms of Contract
Under the new contract, Compton business customers will pay $73.22 a week for one pickup of a three-cubic-yard bin. According to Western Waste, this bin size and pickup frequency is the one most used by local businesses. Rates vary according to the size bin used and how many pickups are made each week.
Western Waste told the council that the increase was necessary because its cost for dumping at the Puente Hills landfill recently went from $7 a ton to $9.50.
Tony Gendal, a Western Waste vice president, said Compton businesses are charged a higher rate than surrounding cities because his company does not also have the city's residential contract. Compton businesses also do not have to pay certain special services.
"For instance, if someone (in a lower-priced city) wants to have his trash picked up by a smaller truck to protect his (parking lot) pavement, he gets charged extra," Gendal said. He said a business in Compton would not be charged more for the same service.
The trash company had originally proposed an increase that would raise rates 11%, but would give 3% of that total back to the city. But after city administrators rejected the plan, Western Waste trimmed its proposal to the 6% increase--all of which the company will keep.
Robbins complained that many smaller businesses do not require the minimum service offered by Western Waste, which is a 50-pound pickup once a week that costs $16.91.
"Many people have complained to me that (Western Waste) does not have a bin the size they can use," Robbins said.
Adams, who owns a funeral home in Compton, said as a businessman he knows that a business must have a bin larger than it needs. He said this is because residents in the area often drop their larger items in his bin.
Survey of Cities
In a survey of eight nearby cities, only Hawthorne pays a higher commercial trash collection rate. For a three-cubic-yard bin, Hawthorne businesses pay $88.90 a week for one pickup.
The lowest rate is in Bellflower, where a company pays $36.44 a week for this arrangement. Cerritos is only slightly higher at $37.19.
Also surveyed were Paramount, Lakewood, Lynwood and Inglewood, where rates ranged from $51.34 to $62.95. Only Lynwood and Inglewood are served by Western Waste.
In an interview last week, Gendal said he does not agree with the findings of the survey and added that he doubts Compton's rate is that much higher than other cities. He said he could not provide any details, however.