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Oakland City Leaders Call Increased Garbage Rates 'A Victory' For Residents

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- Oakland residents will be paying more to get their garbage picked up, but city leaders call the new rates "a victory" for customers.

The City Council awarded the new garbage contract to a local company, which plans to raise rates by 27 percent next summer. Originally, city staffers pushed for a contract with Waste Management that would have raised rates 50 percent.

The rate hike will pay for a new curbside bulk pick-up and is designed to cut down on illegal dumping of things like furniture.

And the city officials say it's simply time to pay more. Oakland residents haven't seen a rate increase in 15 years, even as gas prices rose.

The winning bidder is California Waste Solution with a 10-year proposal -- $5 million cheaper than other waste managements bid. The company has also agreed to partner with Civicorps, a job-training nonprofit that employs Oakland high school dropouts.

But the decision caused a lot of hand-wringing at City Hall.

"What staff had conceived of as a process that they called the cone of integrity felt to me like a cone of secrecy," said Oakland City Councilmember Lynette Gibson-McElhaney.

City officials spent three years and $1 million in consulting fees and only got two bidders for the garbage contract.

The new contract will go into effect July 2015.

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