Paso Robles garbage rate hike challenged

April 23, 2020

A Paso Robles man is questioning a proposed garbage rate hike and noting the city’s waste disposal contract has not been put out for competitive bid since at least 1993.

“And that contract apparently has never been bid,” said Dan Blackburn, a former reporter, co-founder of CalCoastNews, and a 25-year resident. “I’ve always been suspicious of large, no-bid, evergreen contracts for public services.”

The city’s waste hauler, Paso Robles Waste & Recycle, is proposing a 33 plus percent hike in garbage collection rates over the next five years. To facilitate this, officials in Paso Robles have initiated a Proposition 218 process. At the same time, the city’s contract with the Paso Robles Waste & Recycle is being extended to 2027 based on a facility requirement that has not been properly satisfied, according to Blackburn.

“There is good reason to question the justification for this automatic contract extension worth more than 30 million dollars,” Blackburn said. “That is why I’m concerned about this rate increase. Also, the proposed hike puts Paso Robles’ waste hauling rates well above those of neighboring communities.”

Blackburn is asking Paso Robles residents and business owners who oppose the rate hike to make their views known to city officials by May 19. He has mounted a social media campaign to bring attention to the issue.

Blackburn said he’s spent “about $125” on the effort.

He has asked city officials to postpone the rate hike process until the Covid-19 pandemic is diminished, so as to not limit public participation. He’s had no response.

“I understand the large capital investment necessary to provide this kind of public service,” Blackburn said. “This is what justifies longer-term contracts common in this business. Nevertheless, putting this very large contract out to bid periodically will help ensure that residents and businesses are getting the best service and the biggest bang for their garbage buck.”

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I tried to research who actually owns Paso garbage company .It is listed as a franchise .I have a feeling friends or relatives of the franchise owner of Paso Garbage is an Paso city employee involved in city management .Which would be a reasonable reason why Garbage service has not been open to bids for decades

A family operation. Dale Gomer, president, wife and son, partners with undetermined shares.

Garbage business is big money….The Capone family at one time had New York’s garbage contracts ,the Capones had their own reasons for owning a garbage company .A little over a decade ago the FBI hired a excavation company to excavate a empty lot in New York City that the Capone family owned to look for buried bodies .The excavation company’s name was Enopac……Capone spelled backwards …needless to say the FBI didn’t find any bodies

Well, this “business’ goes back a long, long way… both historically and geographically:

And don’t forget, Capone left New York for the much greener pastures in Chicago. And the “waste management” business has never been the same since.

A no-bid evergreen contract for a public service? Quality? Convenience? Concerning? Who can know?

Thanks, Dan, for insisting that our money be spent responsibly and transparently. Going out to bid is the only option if the City and Council wish to operate openly and fairly.