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Denied Rate Hike, Kensington Trash Firm Cuts Service to Private Streets

Bay View Refuse says homeowners need to bring trash to a main road — no more pick up from private streets or backyards.

Kensington residents who live on narrow private streets are apparently the latest pawn in the ongoing trash dispute between the town and

The private road residents have been told, via notices left on the trash cans last week, that the company will no longer provide backyard service to them and that they will need to bring their trash and recycling to the nearest main street. (See copy of notice attached at right to this article.)

In the past, the trash hauler has either sent a small truck to homes where the larger trash truck cannot maneuver, or a Bay View employee has simply collected the trash by hand, bringing it to the larger truck on the main road.

The move by Bay View is, according to owner Lewis Figone, an attempt to save money in light of the town's refusal to grant him a rate increase.

Bay View had requested rate increases of 6 percent for large cans and 23 percent for small cans, the topic of a before the Kensington Police Protection and Community Services District (KPPCSD) board June 9. The board, which oversees the town's garbage contract, voted 3-2 against the increase, noting that under the provisions of the current agreement, Bay View did not meet the requirements for a rate increase outside the normal rate adjustment schedule. The were increased last year.

The elimination of the backyard service has drawn concern from residents, who wrote to KPPCSD Chairman Charles Toombs, since it was "effective immediately" according to the notice, and would be an inconvenience. They also wondered about the wisdom of leaving the trash on the main road overnight.

According to Figone, the move is simply a cost-cutting measure and not an effort to put any pressure on the town. “We now have to hire a truck to collect trash on those streets because the union tells us that in many cases it’s too far to ask the men to walk,” said. Figone said the truck rental costs $400 per week and is not required by the contract with the town.

He added, “We’re looking at all our costs and have to make cuts.” When asked if there were other items that might change, he said he was not aware of anything.

Despite the wording of the notice left last week, he said the residents just need to leave their trash where the big trucks can access it. That may, or may not, be the main street.

Homeowners have voiced concern that since they do not have trash bins supplied by Bay View, it would leave their trash open to animals and "trash pickers" who routinely search local trash for recyclables.

According to Toombs, the new policy would affect 25 to 30 homes, and he pointedly wondered "why Bay View has only now decided to no longer service them, as they have in the past?”

Last week both Toombs and Figone indicated they were open to continued negotiations to resolve the dispute, but in commenting on the latest development Toombs said, “This latest stunt sure is not helpful to the process. I am still trying to process this and will know more in the coming weeks.”

At the June 9 hearing Figone delivered a letter saying that he wanted to turn the trash and recycling effort over to Republic Services, which operates Richmond Sanitary, a local trash-collection service based in Richmond.

The board is reviewing that request, according to Toombs.

amykurzer@gmail.com June 22, 2011 at 04:41 PM
I am one of those affected by the new policy of not picking up the trash unless I haul it to the main road. I see this as not only a breach of contract, (in essense I am being denied trash pick up despite the fact that I have to pay for service) but a health and safety issue. Many residence on these streets are elderly or disabled and will not be able to haul their trash cans to a main road. I would be interested to know how Berkeley, which also has very narrow roads handles this type of service.
John Stashik June 22, 2011 at 05:46 PM
Berkeley collection crews are civil service employees. Residents of that high-tax city no doubt pay for the service, dearly.
Local Mom June 24, 2011 at 03:45 PM
I am dying to know the rates in Kensington, to compare them to El Cerrito's (where we live).

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