Move comes in response to complex and costly changes mandated by SB 1383

Taft is planning to spend up to $160,000 on a consultant to help it figure out the best approach to dealing with complex and potentially expensive new state laws designed to sharply cut solid waste disposal.

The Taft City Council approved a contract last week with HF&H Consultants to come up with a plan to bring the City into compliance with Senate Bill 1383.

A staff report from City Manager Craig Jones' office said Taft is joining other cities all over the state in hiring outside help for SB 1383 implementation

HF&H Consultants was recommended by other cities, and the firm's president, Rob Hilton, gave the City Council an overview of the affects of SB 1383 in June.

Bob Hampton, owner of westside Waste Management, the city's trash hauler for 24 years, also recommended HF&H at the meeting.

SB 1382 was signed into law in 2016 and mandates a drop to 50 percent of 2014 organic waste disposed by 2020 and 75 percent in 2022

In addition, the law establishes an additional target that not less than 20 percent of edible food that is currently disposed of is recovered for human consumption by 2025.

That means major changes in the way food is disposed of by the generators and the cities and major fines for noncompliance.

It also means more costs to cities, anywhere from the equivalent of one to three full time positions for the city to handle waste inspections and outreach.
The edible food is supposed to be saved for human consumption.

The law will come with strict enforcement as well and hefty fines for cities that aren't in compliance.

starting at $50 to $500 per incident for food waste generators and $1,000 to $10,000 per day for the municipalities.

Complying with the bill will be expensive, too, the Council said.

Those costs will be passed on, Mayor Dave Noerr said.

"The cost will fall back on the taxpayer through higher fees," he said. "This is a nightmare piece of legislation."

He called it "counterproductive, costly and destructive."

To prepare for SB 1383's implementation, the City is is going to have to take a number of steps, and HF&H told the City the changes in its programs and services are "are likely to be significant."

They include revisions to the contract with Hampton's Westside Waste Management, new fees to cover additional costs from more services and programs and a study and process to raise waste fees for property owners.