Proposed 2018-2020 garbage rates

The City Council will consider increasing and changing garbage rates at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, at 7 p.m., in the City Council Chambers at 701 Laurel St.

You may submit a written response to the rate changes by following the instructions below or you can speak in person at the City Council meeting on Nov. 14. 

A Proposition 218 public notice regarding the proposed rate changes was mailed to all customers and property owners on Sept. 25.

Proposed rates


Residential and commercial rate schedules

Why the need to consider rate increases?


  • The rates have not been increased since 2012, but the cost of waste collection, processing and disposal services has been increasing two to three percent per year. This has resulted in annual shortfalls. The City has been covering these shortfalls with the rate stabilization fund. However, the fund balance is now too low to continue covering shortfalls.
  • The heavily discounted and subsidized 20- and 32-gallon residential garbage carts that rewards customers to reduce, recycle and compost has been successful that over 70 percent of residential customers now use these carts. However, this price structure does not recover the true cost of service, making it increasingly difficult to recover costs for the community’s waste collection and disposal needs.
  • A recent court decision (Capistrano Taxpayers Association, Inc. v. City of San Juan Capistrano) requires that rates be justified based on actual cost for service and customer type, and move toward rate equity. The City needs to manage the risk of litigation by restructuring the rates accordingly. 
  • The City’s agreement with Recology will be expiring in 2020, and there will be some onetime cost adjustments to continue the agreement or even to find a new service provider. The City needs to prepare for the financial impact of this transition.
  • The proposed rates would meet current and future revenue needs over the next three years.

How do we compare with other communities?


  • At proposed 2020 rates, 80 percent of Menlo Park residential customers will still be below the current regional average, and the regional average is also expected to increase.
  • If Menlo Park had adjusted rates annually according to the consumer price index for urban customers in the San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose areas, the rate for a 20-gallon cart in June 2017 would have been $16.48, which is close to the proposed rate for Menlo Park in 2018. A 32-gallon cart would have been $27.57 in 2017.

Sept. 12, 2017, City Council video

How to submit a response


If you wish to file a written response, please send a letter addressed to
City Manager’s Office
c/o Sustainability Manager
701 Laurel St.
Menlo Park, CA 94025.

All property owners and/or solid waste ratepayers may issue a response (with only one response registered per property or solid waste service location).

Please note, your letter must


  • Identify the real property or service location by street address and the assessor’s parcel number
  • Be legibly signed by any one of the current property owners or the bill payer for your solid waste services
  • Be received at City Hall by 5 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, or presented in person at the City Council meeting that evening before the close of the public hearing.
Your name should be set forth as it appears on your tax bill

Any person interested, including all solid waste/recycling collection customers of the City of Menlo Park, may appear at the public hearing and be heard on any matter related to the proposed rate increase.