Budget Crisis Averted in San Leandro After Oakland Garbage Compromise

San Leandro officials down in the dumps
about Oakland’s garbage contract are now
relieved by news of a compromise.

SAN LEANDRO | CITY COUNCIL | The substantial $500,000 annual hit San Leandro’s general fund would have suffered following Oakland’s decision in July to exclude Waste Management’s from its next zero waste contract appears to have been averted.

In an article, first reported Thursday by the East Bay Express, Oakland city officials are nearing a compromise solution to end the growing controversy that followed the City Council awarding Oakland-based California Waste Solutions (CWS) a 10-year, $1 billion bid over Waste Management, which, subsequently, filed a lawsuit against Oakland. If a new deal giving Waste Management the right to pick up Oakland’s garbage and allowing CWS to be the city’s sole recycler is approved, some in San Leandro city government will exhale a huge sigh of relief.

As reported last month, Oakland’s decision inadvertently cost San Leandro fees paid by Waste Management to the city at its Davis Street Transfer Station. A portion of the fees, totaling around $500,000 annual could have been lost, along with over $1 million in permit fees San Leandro was expecting from a $100 million expansion of the transfer station. Infamously, San Leandro Vice Mayor Benny Lee unknowingly advocated against his city interest when he told Oakland city council members to select CWS, instead of Waste Management. In retrospect, many at San Leandro City Hall were unaware or unprepared for the potential loss of revenue.

In addition, the San Leandro City Council was again left in the dark earlier this week about the potential for a compromise in Oakland. San Leandro Councilmember Jim Prola advocated during a council meeting Monday night to schedule a resolution calling for the Oakland City Council to re-open negotiations with Waste Management. Prola suggested using language contained in a petition posted on Change.org.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to fight with electeds in Oakland,” countered Councilmember Pauline Cutter, who added, “although I think they were wrong.” However, City Manager Chris Zapata, who, himself erred in sending a letter advocating for the city to Oakalnd officials just hours before it deliberated July 30, said he was scheduled to meet with Waste Management officials the next day.

“If you want to keep your powder dry for another meeting, that would be an advisable course of action,” said Zapata and the resolution was moth-balled. By Thursday morning, a possible deal was announced potentially ending the trash talk in Oakland and neighboring San Leandro.

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