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Recap – Award of New Contract for Solid Waste Franchise Agreement: Passed 3-2


Beginning in July of 2024 this all-electric trash hauler will be used for quiet pick-up of trash in downtown Laguna Beach by CR&R, our new contractor for waste disposal.

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Background: The City of Laguna Beach has been using Waste Management (WM) for over 28 years, and we’ve all become familiar with their crews and skills at handling trash removal on our streets, many of which are steep and narrow. The State of CA has recently issued a new law, SB 1383, which impacts all cities’ trash collection, particularly the disposal and recycling of kitchen waste. Prior to SB 1383, organics like food scraps, yard trimmings, paper, and cardboard were disposed of in dumps and landfills that created a super polluting gas, methane, which contributes to global warning. SB 1383 was passed to reduce this negative impact by:


*   A 75% reduction of organic waste disposal by 2025, and converting organic waste products into usable compost.

*  Capturing by 2025 at least 20% of edible surplus food from the food industry that can be used to feed people.

See more on SB 1383 here:

The Director of Laguna’s Public Works, Mark McAvoy, thought it made sense to develop an RFP (request for proposals) for these new services outlined in SB 1383. The City Council approved hiring a consulting firm, EcoNomics, Inc., to develop the RFP, and this consulting firm has been collaborating with the Public Works staff for almost two years.

The city received two bid responses to this RFP, one from WM and a second from CR&R. WM, who had increased their rates by 23% from July ’23-July ’24 as part of their contract extension, had also submitted a higher fee structure for a new contract with Laguna as well as a nonnegotiable option to increase their rates as market and other conditions changed. CR&R, who services 16 other SoCal cites including Idlewild, did not have a fee increase option in their contract bid except in negotiation with the City, and they proposed lower rates than WM.

Understandably given our long relationship with WM it was a difficult decision to change from a company with whom we’ve had a long relationship, but that has significantly raised fees. Many residents and WM employees submitted letters and made statements supporting WM. Councilmembers Alex Rounaghi and Mark Orgill’s presented major points in support of WM, such as their drivers’ safety record and long experience serving Launa’s residents. They felt that WM’s higher rates could be justified.

While these letters and public comments supporting WM were noteworthy and considered, a major competitor CR &R was selected instead by the Council on a 3-2 vote. Mayor Whalen, Mayor Pro-Tem, Sue Kempf, and I were disappointed in WM’s recent fee increases and their management team’s claim that the non-negotiable rate increase clauses in the future contract were standard practice. CR&R had the lowest bid, saving residents more money than WM. Plus, CR&R agreed to hire at the same salary all employees working in Laguna Beach (which is mandated by State law).

The presentation provided by city staff is attached.

Highlights of the changes coming with the CCR contract are:


1. In mid-2024, residents will be billed directly by CR&R based on the size of the waste receptacles used.


2. Residents will have the option of not paying for their green waste bin if they initiate a certified green waste recycling program on their property. The Public Works Department will supervise this program, and will send details regarding the green waste recycling program prior to implementation in July 2024


3. Commercial rates will decrease by 3% and residential rates by 1%

To learn more about the rate changes and more details on the recommendation to choose CR&R see link below and read the attached PDF presentation created by Public Works.

See link to Staff Report:

GW: An incumbent vendor has a distinct advantage as they have both relationships and knowledge of our town. They also know exactly how much they benefit financially from doing business with the City of Laguna Beach. Unfortunately, WM’s higher bid for the new contract and their 23% increase in rates during the one-year extension for July 2023 to July 2024 were two reasons I voted in favor of CR&R. Also, CR&R provided additional protections from rate increases. Lastly, it was reassuring to know that CR&R is a family business based in Orange County.


All representations made in this email reflect the views of the author and are not official statements of the City of Laguna Beach or City Council.
Any mistakes or  omissions are the sole responsibility of the author, George Weiss. No public funds were expended on this website.

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Disclaimer: All representations made in this email reflect the views of the author and are not official statements of the City of Laguna Beach or City Council. Any mistakes or omissions are the sole responsibility of the author, George Weiss.



Have a question about city government, need a document, or help finding the right person to talk to or anything else, please know that our City Clerk, Ann-Marie McKay is there to assist you professionally and capably. Email: or call 949-497-0309

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