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City to dump trash back in county, pending council approval
The City of Turlock began taking its solid waste to Merced County for cost efficiency reasons roughly a year and a half ago. - photo by Photo Contributed

After months of negotiations, the City of Turlock has reached an agreement with Stanislaus County for solid waste disposal that the Turlock City Council will consider ratifying on Tuesday.
The City of Turlock began taking its solid waste to Merced County for cost efficiency reasons roughly a year and a half ago. According to a presentation by Director of Municipal Services Michael Cooke in February, it was costing 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 was also a minimum tonnage requirement.
Since February city managers from Ceres, Hughson, Newman, Oakdale, Riverbank, Turlock and Patterson have been in negations and a deal was struck three weeks ago.
"Basically, the county was looking to renegotiate the tipping fees, or the cost of bringing solid waste to their landfill and also the waste burner," explained Cooke.
Cooke said Stanislaus County prices have come down by a small amount, but that there will still be an impact on residents regardless of the council's decision. This is in part due to the company the City contracts with, Turlock Scavenger, is requesting a rate structure be adjusted to reflect their increased costs since the last rate increase in 2003. If the City goes with Stanislaus County, the residential rate for 32 gallon cart with green waste would increase, based on the five year average rate, 6.89 percent. If the City stays with Merced County the residential rate for the 32 gallon cart with green waste would increase 5.86 percent.
While initially it appeared that Merced County was more cost effective, in the long term Cook said, "the actual monthly fee to our customers wasn't as significant as we anticipated."
There are also more intrinsic benefits for the City of Turlock to go forward with the Stanislaus County agreement.
"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.
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 Tuesday the Turlock City Council will also:
• Receive several updates including one on refuse and graffiti in the City of Turlock as well as the status of the Convention and Visitors Bureau request for proposals process by the city manager.
• Consider if the 200 bed cap on emergency shelter beds in the SB2 Emergency Shelter Overlay District is required.
• Consider adopting the amended powers and duties for the Parks, Arts, and Recreation Commission which is now executing the Community Grants Funding. The council will also affirm or modify the funding as designated by the commission in various amounts for several events and nonprofits including the Fourth of July fireworks, Fourth of July parade, Turlock Community Theater, Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, Central Valley Brewfest, Monster Truck Spring Nationals, and Central Valley Vinofest.
• Consider approving a lease agreement for the former Turlock Police station located at 247 E. Canal to the Turlock Irrigation District.
• Consider approving an agreement with a Santa Cruz based firm, Wormhoudt, Inc, for design services not to exceed $28,000 for the relocation of the skate park to Donnelly Park.
• Consider approving a regional consolidated plan for fiscal years 2015-2020 which encompasses the Community Development Block Grant and HOME investment partnerships for the City of Turlock, Stanislaus County, and HOME consortium.
The Turlock City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Yosemite Room at City Hall, 156 S. Broadway.