Perplexed Ventura residents have been calling City Hall to ask why they are being billed for recycling their yard waste in September when that service won't be offered by the city's trash hauler until October.
The city has received several calls since Monday, when E.J. Harrison & Sons began distributing brown barrels for yard trimmings to 21,000 customers in Ventura, said John Betonte, a city maintenance supervisor.
Although E.J. Harrison won't begin emptying the 100-gallon barrels until Oct. 10, the company is already bearing costs for manufacturing and delivering the barrels, Betonte said.
So the city agreed to let the trash company tack on a 14% rate increase to cover the costs of the so-called green waste pickup beginning Sept. 1, Betonte said.
"We could have started in October, but it would have been at a higher rate," Betonte said. "The yard-recycling program costs a certain amount each year to work, and they had to cover those costs. We decided to spread it out over more months."
Starting in October, E.J. Harrison will pick up lawn clippings, small branches and other yard waste every other week on a household's regular trash pickup day.
The idea is to reduce the amount of trash going to the county's landfills, Betonte said. Cities are required by law to reduce waste in landfills 25% by 1995 and 50% by 2000.
Ventura has reduced landfill-bound trash by about 30%, Betonte said. The green waste program will help the city trim back landfill waste even more, he said.