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City managers discuss proposals for solid waste agreement with Stanislaus County
The City of Turlock, which uses a three can system for garbage, is hoping to strike a new deal with Stanislaus County to have half the citys solid waste taken to a landfill and the other half to an energy center. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

The City of Turlock presently takes its solid waste to Merced County but is hoping to achieve an agreement with the Stanislaus County to begin a new pact that would keep the service in Turlock’s home county.

The City of Turlock began taking its solid waste contract to Merced County roughly a year and a half ago predominantly for cost efficiency reasons. According to a presentation by Director of Municipal Services Michael Cooke at a City of Turlock workshop on Tuesday, it costs the City $19.40 a ton to take their waste to a landfill with no minimum volume requirement to Merced County. Comparatively, it costs roughly $26 per ton to take the trash to a Stanislaus County landfill and $32.78 per ton to take solid waste to a waste energy center. There is also a minimum tonnage requirement. 

While taking the City’s solid waste to Merced County is better financially, it would be more beneficial in the long run for the City of Turlock to have a solid waste contract within its own county.

“If we go with Merced County we will save money but will have to implement a number of programs and they come with a cost,” explained Cooke. “There are other, more intrinsic benefits, for going through Stanislaus County.”

 These benefits include several services that Stanislaus County performs for its clients.

 “The difference really is that Stanislaus County does a lot of work on our behalf. They prepare our state reports for us, they enlist the grants for us, they operate the house and hazardous waste program in our county so businesses and households can get rid of hazardous waste at no cost, and also by going to the waste energy center we get credit, 10 percent, on our divergence,” said Cooke.

On Wednesday the city managers of the cities of Ceres, Hughson, Newman, Oakdale, Riverbank, Turlock and Waterford convened to discuss prices and percentages with which each city is comfortable paying for solid waste services. Patterson is also included but was not present at the meeting. According to Turlock City Manager Roy Wasden, Turlock is proposing sending half of its solid waste to the landfill and half to the energy center.

“What we’re saying is we think it would be fair for the City of Turlock to have half of our solid waste go into a burn plant and the other half to go to the landfill. But really it’s a decision up to the county as they operate that side. Were not a partner, we’re a customer, and this is our proposal,” said Wasden.

Achieving an agreement with the Stanislaus County for solid waste disposal would prove mutually beneficial for the City of Turlock and Stanislaus County especially in terms of economic development.

“If Turlock and other cities remove their waste from the county system it would potentially not allow a viable waste system in our county,” said Cooke on Tuesday.

“There are two things to consider: First of all, the best price in the short term which is always compelling. But, then you need to look at what we need to serve the community in the next 100 years,” said Wasden.

Stanislaus County Assistant Executive Officer Keith Boggs said that the cities’ proposal will be evaluated internally and anticipates the county having news to report next week.

“I would hope that within the next 60 days we will have it all resolved,” said Wasden.