Thursday, December 08, 2011

Blog #31 - Town Council Actions - December 7, 2011 Meeting

Fairfax Town Council Approves Providing Police Dispatch Services to Ross, Approves Rate Increase for Solid Waste

Police Dispatch Services for Town of Ross

The Town Council approved a five-year agreement with the Town of Ross to provide police dispatch services. The Town of Fairfax, without adding any additional staff, will be able to provide this service to Ross for a fee of $21,000 per year for the first three years and $31,000 each year thereafter. This agreement also saves Ross some money as they currently are being dispatched through the Marin County Sheriff’s department. The Council also approved an agreement to share police supervisory services (vacation relief) with the Town of Ross at no cost to either Town.

Solid Waste and Recycling Rate Increase Approved

The Council approved a 17.41% rate increase for solid waste, recycling, and yard and food waste programs to become effective January 6, 2012.

Marin Sanitary Service (MSS) assumed a Solid Waste and Recycling Agreement in 2006 from Fairfax Disposal Service. From 1993 to 2009 Fairfax did not see any rate increases directly related to the cost of providing the garbage and recycling service because Marin Sanitary did not petition for increases it was entitled to receive to cover its cost. Beginning in 2009, Fairfax and MSS have worked together to get rates set at a level that covered MSS costs without causing undue hardship to customers. According to the independent consultants, even with our last rate adjustment of 10%, Marin Sanitary is not receiving sufficient revenue to cover its operating costs. Thus, the proposed increase is intended to get rates caught up to a break-even point and to a lesser extent cover some new and exciting services included in the new franchise agreement.

The rate adjustment analysis produced by Hilton Farnkopf and Hobson (HF&H) Consultants in March 2011 recommended a 24.23% rate increase for garbage and recycling services in Fairfax.

At the April 2011 Town Council meeting the Council increased the garbage and recycling rate by 10% with the understanding that the Council would be reviewing the rates as soon as the new Franchise Agreement was approved. The Town Council approved a new Franchise Agreement with MSS at the November 2, 2011 Council meeting that includes new waste reduction and recycling programs. Thus, there remains 14.23% of the recommended rate increase from the HF&H study for consideration in addition to determining compensation for MSS’s additional obligations under the new Franchise Agreement.

Listed below are the garbage hauling, waste reduction and recycling programs that make up the recommended rate increase of 17.41%:

HF&H Study 14.23%

Brush Clearing Program 1.06%
Delivering of Compost 3x/year 0.13%
Paper Shredding/E-Waste/Prescription Medication 1x/year 0.30%
Household Hazardous Waste Pick-Up by Appointment 0.49%
Special Events-Waste Reduction/Recycling/Reuse 0.60%
Education and Promotion of all programs 0.60%

TOTAL 17.41%

In addition to the benefits to residential customers there are many services available only to commercial customers as outlined below:

1. Container sizes from 32 gallon to 6 cubic yard to accommodate varying levels of service.

2. No distance charges for commercial customers. MSS retrieves carts and returns them; curbside service is preferred, but not mandatory for commercial.

3. Under the new contract MSS will collect 6 days per week from Town owned solid waste containers placed throughout the downtown area to ensure areas are clean and containers empty at the beginning of the business day.

4. Availability of Waste Audit. MSS Commercial Recycling Coordinators will arrange for a series of free waste audits to characterize material for recycling.

5. Unlimited Commercial Recycling. All MSS commercial customers are eligible for unlimited recycling services up to 6 days per week regardless of garbage cart size included free in their rates. A commercial customer may have only 1-32 garbage carts picked up once per week, but are able to set out unlimited amounts of recycling material up to 6 days per week.

6. The services of a dedicated commercial cardboard truck scanning the Town 6 days per week. This service includes on-call collection and container sizes up to 2 cubic yards and is not available to residential customers

7. Bulky item collection is available to all commercial customers Monday-Friday and not subject to the Off-Day collection requirements for residential customers.

8. Unlike other jurisdictions MSS serves, the Quarterly Residential Newsletter has always been sent
to commercial customers in Fairfax to ensure they are knowledgeable of available services. The new Commercial Newsletter is being sent to all commercial customers explaining the full range of service available to them.

Other actions taken at the Town Council October 5, 2011 meeting:

• Approved the creation of a Cittaslow Committee and directed staff to advertise for committee members

• Discussed the concept of combining the Design Review Board with the Planning Commission. After a fairly lengthy discussion the Council agreed to bring this item back to the Council on January 11, 2012 for further discussion. Currently the Planning Commission and the Design Review Board are two separate bodies that applicants must receive decisions from and combining the two functions would allow for a more efficient and synergistic review of applications.

• Gave direction to staff on refinancing the General Obligation Bonds (Measure K). The Council elected to use the refunded monies on additional Measure K capital projects.

• Approved the release of a Request for Proposal (RFP) for banking services. The Town has been banking with Bank of America for many years and the Council felt it was time to seek proposals from all banks in the area. The Council is seeking a bank that is local and active and vested in the community.

• Reviewed the Council committee assignments for the upcoming year and all council members decided on which council member will serve on each committee. Some of the committees are the Ross Valley Fire Board, Transportation Authority of Marin, Marin Telecommunications Committee, Marin Energy Authority, Zero Waste Committee, Flood Zone 9, and Ross Valley Paramedic Authority.

• Other notes and announcements:

• Fairfax Food Pantry – Saturdays 9-11AM at the Fairfax Community Church,1000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd-Volunteers needed!!

• Vacancy on the Fairfax Youth Commission for Ross Valley youth between 14 and 19 years of age

• Vacancy for a Fairfax Representative to the Marin Commission on Aging to June 30, 2012

• Vacancy on the Volunteer Board to complete an unexpired term to 12-31-12

• JACKED! An original play, based on a fairy tale, to poke fun at politicians and current affairs, December 29, 30 and 31, at the Fairfax Pavilion, created and presented by Fairfax Artists-in-Residence Sam and Shoshanna Parry

• Town Offices are closed from December 27th to January 3rd. All emergency services will be provided during this time. Police and Fire will work their normal schedule.

The next Town Council meeting will be January 11, 2012 at 7:00 PM at the Women’s Club.