By Albert Mass
I was shocked and angered that the City of Los Angeles’ City Council has allowed the City’s waste haulers to increase trash removal fees by 6.15% effective in January while rent increases are frozen, late fees and interest are banned, and evictions are prohibited. Because I am unable to increase rent at my building (let alone collect it from tenants now living for free under the disguise of a COVID impact) during this global pandemic, the City should require its monopolistic waste haulers to freeze prices. This is especially so, and the City should take responsibility, because is was the City that established its anti-competitive monopoly arrangement known as “RecycLA” that set and imposes upon me and thousands of other property owners ever-increasing waste hauling fees. It was the City that has negotiated the waste hauling rates and that has chosen my waste hauler, not me.
All this started back in 2017 when property owners were shocked and dismayed by the huge fee increases rolled out along with horrible service levels so that the City could extort a $25 million to $35 million franchise fee from property owners based upon a “10% take” of the waste haulers’ gross receipts. Gone were 100’s of waste haulers competing for our business leaving us with just 7 each granted exclusive rights to service designated territories within the City. For the City, there’s no skin of its back – the more property owners pay, the more the City earns. But there is no doubt about it. A 10% franchise fee is no more than a tax on property owners.