After some heavy lobbying by garbage collection companies, the Downey City Council unanimously voted this week to reject a proposal that would have awarded the city's franchise to only one hauler. Instead, the 16 firms that currently hold either commercial, industrial or residential trash collection licenses will be allowed to continue operation.
When the issue of franchising to a single firm went before the council in February, members delayed action until the haulers were given an opportunity to address the council. At Tuesday's meeting, attorney Z. Harry Astor spoke against franchising on behalf of 12 of the 16 haulers. And city officials acknowledged that they had received 70 letters, mostly from local businesses opposed to making any change.
As garbage hauler Michael Agopian put it, the current system is "the American way" because it allows for more competition.
Astor said his clients will comply with the council's desire that they start work no earlier than 7 a.m. to avoid disturbing residents with noise from the compactors. They also promised to make sure their equipment operates safely and to repaint dumpster bins that are parked in alleys at businesses and identify them with the haulers' names.
Astor said the haulers also are willing to let the city raise their permit fees from $187.50 per truck to $500 per truck.