Solid Waste Rates

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Solid Waste Service Rates

Current Solid Waste Rates

What makes up the solid waste rates?

The costs associated with the solid waste rates are made up primarily of four parts: 

  • The franchise agreement the city holds with the waste hauler (Recology Davis) for garbage, recycling, organics collection and street sweeping, which includes landfill tipping fees, etc. The agreement accounts for 86% of the total cost of the solid waste program. 
  • The cost of the city’s Solid Waste and Diversion Programs, many of which are mandated by State regulations. These programs account for 7% of the total cost.
  • Other associated city administrative costs (costs for billing, etc.)These costs are 5% of the program.
  • The reserve/debt service coverage requirements, which account for the last 2% of the program.

Solid Waste Rate Adjustments

The City is increasing the Solid Waste program's rates as the expenditures for the program have exceeded revenue. Recently, the city completed a Solid Waste Rate Study to provide direction on how best to ensure fiscal sustainability for the Solid Waste Program moving forward.  

On December 4, the City Council approved the solid waste rate Proposition 218 notices for single-family and commercial/multi-family customers. The notices were mailed out to all city solid waste customers, and the protest hearing was held at the City Council meeting on February 5, 2019.

2018 Notice of rate increase: Single-Family Residential rates
2018 Notice of rate increase: Commercial and Multi-Family Residential rates

December 4, 2018 City Council Meeting agenda

At the February 5 meeting, City Council approved the proposed rates, but directed staff to space out the first and second year’s planned rate adjustments so that the first rate adjustment occurs on March 1, 2019, but the second year rate adjustment will take place on June 1, 2020 at the earliest.  

February 5, 2019 City Council Meeting Agenda

With the maximum approved adjustments, the average rate for a single-family customer with a 65-gallon trash can would see a maximum increase from the current rate of $34 per month, to about $39 per month in 2019, and will reach $51 by 2023.  The chart below shows the maximum increases for single-family residential customers of each subscription level.  

Single Family Garbage Cart Size

2018 Rates

Current Rate Effective March 1, 2019


Maximum Rate Effective June 2020*


Maximum Rate Effective 2021


Maximum Rate Effective 2022


Maximum Rate Effective 2023








$ 46.08


$ 34.32

$ 38.95

$ 42.85


$ 48.59

$ 51.02


$ 40.94

$ 46.47

$ 51.11

$ 55.20


$ 60.86

 * Due to the COVID-19 emergency, at their meeting on May 5, City Council voted to delay the June 1, 2020 rate adjustment for the Solid Waste Utility until such time as the Council, in consultation with the Public Works Utilities & Operations Director and Finance Director, determines that the adjustment should be implemented.

How long are these rates for?

These are maximum rate adjustments over the next 5 years.  Should future changes to the solid waste service result in lower operational costs, the Council could decide to set rates lower than the maximums.

Council also directed staff to update the Solid Waste financial plan each year with actual costs, revisiting all associated costs of the utility on an annual basis. Staff will return to Council each year with a rate recommendation within the maximum set through this process. 

Why are rates increasing?

The solid waste program is in deficit. There are a number of reasons why the program’s expenditures are exceeding revenues, and they are detailed in the December 4, 2018 staff report presented to Council on the solid waste rates. The increases are not the result of the Recology Davis’ acquisition of Davis Waste Removal (DWR), as per contract those costs are not allowed to be passed on to customers. The factors impacting the fund briefly include:

  • The increase in landfill costs that Recology passes through to the city when depositing the waste at the landfill;
  • Repayment of a $3M loan from the city’s wastewater fund for continued operation;
  • Balancing costs associated with the organics collection program the city introduced in 2016.  When implemented, customer rates were not increased for organics collection, as it was assumed the additional cost could be covered by an existing fund balance until a rate study could be conducted with data from the implementation. Ultimately, the rates approved in 2013 could not support the program expenditures; and
  • As the beginning of a larger plan for the future of the City’s solid waste services, a number of longer-term costs and the development of a larger reserve as a rate-stabilization buffer and protection against unanticipated costs are built into the rates. The goals for these long-term accounts is to build them over many years, reducing the overall impact on customers.

Additional Information

Staff Reports

Utilities Commission Meeting Items

Natural Resources Commission Meeting Items 

  • September 24, 2018

City Council Meeting Items

City of Davis Web Pages