The increase would raise the monthly rate for a standard 64-gallon trash tote from $29.45 to $36.50, and would go into effect Jan. 1.
According to city officials, the city’s solid waste fund has operated at a deficit the past two fiscal years, a trend that is expected to continue into the 2012-13 financial calendar. Officials believe the deficit was created by a spike in foreclosed homes in Tracy, which equates to lost revenue for the waste services. There are approximately 800 vacant or foreclosed homes in Tracy, according to city government figures.
If approved, the city estimates the increase will generate an additional $1.5 million during the remaining fiscal year, which ends June 30.
A staff report noted that the city under-collected the franchise fee due to Tracy Delta Disposal Services — the company contracted to provide waste collection — and the cost of waste management rose by about $785,000 when the issue was amended.
Those added costs meant that the utility fund for garbage services suffered a $1.4 million operating deficit in 2010-11, leaving $2.2 million in reserves for the operating budget. That cushion would be exhausted after 2011-12, if city and consultant projections are accurate. In that scenario, Department of Public Works Director Kevin Tobeck said, the in-the-red general fund might have to make up the shortfall, something that Finance Director Zane Johnston said would be highly irregular.
Waste rates were most recently increased in 2007.
The council is scheduled to vote on the measure immediately following the public hearing.
In other discussions, the council is expected have a vote that would authorize city staff to begin negotiations with San Joaquin County, and possibly the city of Stockton, in regards to assuming the control of the Tracy Branch Library located, 20 E. Eaton Ave.
The city of Stockton is contracted by San Joaquin County to operate 13 of the libraries within the county’s public library system. The city of Stockton is currently responsible for managing and staffing the Tracy library.
Tracy officials estimate $1.2 million in property taxes from people living in and around Tracy is used to run the local library — money that by law can’t be used to pay for anything else.
On top of the property taxes collected by the county, the city spends $193,000 each year to provide extra materials for the Tracy library and to extend the library’s hours.
Tracy City Manager Leon Churchill said the plan could eventually save Tracy about $290,000 annually from its $49 million general fund, which is an estimated $1.4 million in the red for fiscal year 2011-12.