GALT (CBS13) — Businesses may go bust after rotten garbage fees go up.
“Jobs will definitely be lost, businesses will close and we will become a ghost town,” said Chamber of Commerce President Bonnie Rodriguez.
The Galt Supermarket has been a staple in the community for generations and is just one of the dozens of businesses being impacted by the rising garbage fees.
“It’s very, very important to me and my family because it’s a part of who we are,” said Catherine Hom.
Hom now owns the business her grandparents started. With recent trash hikes, their livelihoods could be going to the dumps.
“After 50 years we would have to close down. (It) would be really devastating to me,” she said.
The city signed a contract with CalWaste which raised the cost for homeowners, but businesses are feeling the brunt.
“We have businesses taking a 50% increase and businesses all the way up to 800%,” Rodriguez said.
The Galt Supermarket was paying less than $500 a month in garbage fees, now with the same service, it would pay $3,500. That’s more than a 600% increase.
“That’s an employee that I would have to sacrifice just to pay for trash,” Hom said.
So why are rates going up?
“What we were told back in September was that the big bad state was passing these mandates,” Rodriguez said.
It’s true, several bills have been passed by lawmakers to divert organic waste from landfills by 50% next year. But Rodriguez says the City of Stockton negotiated its rates last month and doesn’t compare.
“They facing the same mandates we are and their prices aren’t anywhere near what we’re facing,” she added.
The only city comparable, she says, is San Francisco.
“We are our own little island down here we don’t have Bay Area income to pay these types of prices,” she said.
It’s not just one of two businesses in jeopardy, it’s dozens.
“I’m looking at a 300% increase,” said Loren Thompson, who owns Spaans Cookie Company.
Vice Mayor Shawn Farmer says the new council was faced with this contract that now has to be renegotiated.
“We’ve got businesses that of been here for 50 years that are talking about closing their doors. Fifty years in business and this could be it for them, so the new council agrees, the city as a whole, something needs to be done and has to be done,” Farmer said.
For now, businesses are getting creative to save their earning and the earth.
“Paper towels were a big waste, so we switched to hand dryers,” Hom said.
Because businesses only have the option to use CalWaste as a service, Hom can’t sell her trash or recycling to anyone else. Instead, she found a company that would pick up her clear plastics for free, which just means a few extra hours of labor.
By the strict new changes she has implemented, Hom has brought the trash bill down to $1,800 and decided to opt out of recycling. Her bill is down to $1,200. That’s about a 150% increase.
She says it’s working for now, but barely. And said the trash fees need to change.
“They are either forcing us to go out of business or shutting our doors down,” Hom said.