Garbage rates creep up again

That smell coming your mailbox is a higher garbage bill, the sixth rate hike in as many years.

The Sonoma City Council has unanimously approved a 4.5 percent increase, retroactive to Jan. 1. The monthly charge went up 5 percent last year, 4.1 percent in 2009, 5 percent in 2008, 12.3 percent in 2007 and 9.9 percent in 2006.

The impact on the typical residential bill will be about 60 cents a month.

The rate for commercial customers rises to 7.55 percent, in part to pay for a commercial food waste composting service that was a success in its free trial run in 2011.

The rates are determined by a formula set in the city’s contract with Sonoma Garbage Company, a local, family-owned company praised by councilmembers for its excellent service. Even with the fee hike, the rates remain among the lowest in the region.

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