Money to pay for the extra rubbish pickup comes from trash collection fees, but Kevin Tobeck, director of public works, said the city gets less money from fees each year because of foreclosures and the lack of construction. Fewer people in homes means fewer collection bills, Tobeck said.
Tracy budget officer Allan Borwick said the city received about $706,000 less from solid waste pickups in the most recent fiscal year than the previous year. Most of that, he said, could be chalked up to foreclosures.
“It’s currently a reflection of the economy and the restraints we have on our solid waste fund,” Tobeck said. “By next year, we’d be running a deficit, and we certainly want to try and avoid that.”
Tobeck said public works decided about three months ago to cut the cleanup, during which Tracy residents could leave larger items, such as TVs and refrigerators or yard trimmings, on the curb. He said city employees will make a decision later about the fall cleanup, based on how the budget looks at that time.
Tobeck described the move as a way to save some money without disrupting weekly collection.
The department is still spending a bit more than it’s taking in, Borwick said. Even after taking out the spring cleanup, the solid waste budget falls short by about $800,000, he said. Tobeck said that last year, the city spent $72,920 on spring cleanup.
“We’ll keep our fingers crossed, but for right now, we’re holding off,” he said.
Tobeck also noted that people would sometimes abuse the system by leaving more than the posted limit — the equivalent of 10 32-gallon trash bags — on their curb. Borwick said the city reimburses Tracy Delta Disposal based on the tonnage their trucks collect.
Tobeck added that city workers have seen scavengers walking around and taking things people have left on the curb. He has also seen people from out of town dumping their trash on city streets on cleanup days.
“Some people will be frustrated that they can’t put some of their solid waste out,” Tobeck said. “They’ll have to do something else, or they’ll have to hold onto it and see if we can do something in the fall.”
Public works management analyst Jennifer Cariglio said her employees have already heard some complaints from people who have called to ask about the cleanup.
“They are disappointed, because instead of it being a cost to the city, now they have to pay for it,” Cariglio said.
Tobeck maintained that discards can still be taken to the local Material Recovery Facility, 30703 MacArthur Drive, for a fee. He added that other disposal days, such as those for electronic waste and packing foam, should probably still be in place.